Tag Archives: China

China’s New Ban on Ivory

On Sunday, January 31 a total ban on Ivory in China was put into place. President Xi Jinping declared the import and export of elephant ivory to be illegal in the nation that has the  world’s largest importer of elephant tusks for decades.

This ban will greatly reduce the number of elephants killed by poachers in Africa, which at one point was nearly 100 animals a day, over 30,000 annually. The partial ivory ban declared by China in 2017 helped reduce the number of elephants killed by nearly 40%. Now that a total ban is in place in China, conservationists hope this number will be reduced much further. The African Elephant population was near 10 million animals in 1900 and reduced to 1.2 million by the mid 1980’s. Today as few as 300,000 remain on the continent.

Poaching for ivory has been the biggest threat to the survival of the two species of Elephants in Africa, the Savannah and Forest Elephants. Loss of habitat and increased human population is another concern as urban development continues with the expansion of cities and roadways. The human population will soon reach 1 billion on the continent alone and this means less space for wildlife.

The establishment of wildlife corridors, connecting national parks and protected areas from one country to the next is the only hope for elephants, big cats, giraffes and of Africa’s wildlife both large and small.

Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
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Is this the End of the Sumatran Rhino?

Some years ago when i was in high school there were an estimated 800 Sumatran Rhino left in the world. Today estimates have as few as 30 to no higher than 90 animals left in the wild and captivity combined.

Habitat destruction has been the primary culprit along with poaching for rhino horn. Mismanagement of wildlife conservation has been another factor that has plagued the protection of this unique species. For the years the governments of Indonesia and Malaysia have not cooperated to devise a comprehensive management plan to include captive breeding and habitat protection. Now with perhaps as few as 30 animals left on earth is it too late.

History has shown that it is not too late. The White Rhinoceros was nearly exterminated and number were reduced to as low as 50 animals. Today there are around 15,000. The number was higher a decade ago but years of poaching have reduced the species by over a thousand animals a year for the past ten years.

Captive breeding has been successful recently at the Cincinnati zoo until their last female rhino died. The International Rhino Foundation (IRF) breeding center in Sumatra has had success but the number of offspring is not competing with the overall birth/death rate.

The Sumatran Rhino s the smallest of all five rhino species, it is also a close relative of the extinct Wooly Rhinoceros that dies out at the end of the Pleistocene Era. To lose another rhino species in such a short time in geological history would be a tragedy.

More can and needs to be done to save this species. IT IS NOT TOO LATE! An aggressive captive breeding program must be implemented with combined efforts of Indonesia and Malaysia. Some scientists believe that  In vitro fertilization may be the answer. It is certainly worth a try. We will not know unless an effort is put to the test.

Recently the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival (WCFF) partnered with NatGeoWild to host a program on Sumatran Rhino Conservation in Dali, China. The event screened clips from Operation Sumatran Rhino and discussed conservation work for tis endangered species. In the audience were over 150 wildlife conservation experts, biologists, government representatives from multiple South-east Asia countries and leaders in the nature/wildlife documentary film industry. All were in agreement, more needs to be done to save this species and the power of this film is getting the word out.

Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
http://www.WCFF.org
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Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in China

The WCFF recently returned from a two week trip to China where this unique film festival participated in the first Dali International Film Festival. The WCFF was invited by the Yunnan Tourism Group, Wild China and National Geographic. WCFF provided exceptional award winning content and both participated and hosted panel discussions. Discussions ranged from specific species, ecosystems, filming techniques and wildlife crime.

Long term partnerships have been established between the WCFF, Dali international Film Festival, Wild China Films and National Geographic. In discussion are future feature film projects in China, Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia, a potential series and the establishment of the WCFF education outreach program in China.

WCFF hosted film screenings over the course of ten days to over a thousand students representing Dali University, Yunnan Arts University, Kunming University of Science and Technology and Ocean University of China. Students and faculty from these institutions of higher learning were Informed, Engaged and Inspired via the power of film  through the WCFF screenings and panel discussions.

WCFF will return to China in 2018 for more programs in Dali and Beijing. We are ever so grateful to our generous hosts that include: Yunnan Tourism Group, National Geographic, Wild China Films, CCTV, Dali Art House, NatGeoWild and the many volunteers, participants and friends made during our stay.

Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018 | New York, NY
http://www.WCFF.org
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Cambodia’s plan to reintroduce tigers

The Indochinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) is one of the six living tiger subspecies, and is found in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and southwestern China.

The total population is less than 325 individuals in the wild. The largest population unit survives in Thailand estimated at 175 to 200 individuals. There are 75 individuals in Myanmar, and only 20 Indochinese tigers remain in Vietnam. The last tiger seen in China was 2009 in the Yunnan province.

As recently as 1999, Cambodia was home to one of the world’s largest tiger populations. Within a decade, the big cats had been eliminated from the country due to poaching and habitat loss. The last  Indochinese tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti) was captured by camera trap roaming the lush Mondulkiri Province in the country’s east in 2007. Nearly 11 years later, none have been seen.

The Cambodian government is looking to change that. The Ministry of Environment announced in late September that it is moving forward with a plan, along with the WWF, to reintroduce tigers to Cambodia — a scheme that has drawn criticism from wildlife experts across the globe due to weak rule of law, rampant poaching and the destruction of Cambodia’s environment through illegal logging and other practices

However are there are a number of conservation organizations and scientists that feel now is not the right time to launch this program in Cambodia.

To read more visit: https://news.mongabay.com/2017/11/is-cambodias-plan-to-reintroduce-tigers-doomed-to-fail/?n3wsletter&utm_source=Mongabay+Newsletter&utm_campaign=1868686cdf-newsletter_2017_11_02&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_940652e1f4-1868686cdf-67233543

Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.
Twitter: @CJGERVAIS
Christopher@WCFF.org

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
October 18-28, 2018
http://www.WCFF.org
Facebook.com/WCFForg
Twitter: @WCFF_org
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5 Years in Prison for Canadian Turtle Smuggler

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On April 12, Kai Xu, a Canadian man caught in 2014 attempting to smuggle 51 live turtles in his pants, was sentenced to fifty-seven months in prison by a US federal judge. According to prosecutors, Canadian border guards had found “41 turtles taped to his legs and 10 hidden between his legs”, and he had already sent over 1000 turtles to Shanghai in suitcases via a co-conspirator.
Since his arrest in September 2014, the 27-year-old has spent his days in prison. He has admitted he’s tried to smuggle over 1600 turtles, ranging in species from Eastern box turtles and red-eared sliders to Diamondback Terrapins, from the US to China between April 2014 and his arrest. The Associated Press reported that Xu entered Michigan multiple times to buy and ship turtles to China without a federal permit. Assistant US Attorney Sara Woodward noted his wildlife smuggling crimes to be among the largest in recent years.
Xu, who claimed in a letter to US District Judge John Corbett O’Meara to be selling the turtles in part to fund his college degree, thanked agents “for stopping the darkness of my greed and ignorance”, and expressed remorse for his actions. The sentencing marks a victory against the dangerous and widespread global trend of wildlife trafficking.
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Source: Dasgupta, Shreya. “Turtle smuggler sentenced to five years in prison.” Mongabay, 18 April, 2016.

Wildlife Conservation Film Festival
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Christopher J. Gervais, F.R.G.S.
Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org
www.WCFF.org

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China Bans Elephant Ivory

 

Malaysian customs officers show elephant tusks which were recently seized in Port Klang outside Kuala Lumpur

GOOD News in the fight for Wildlife Conservation!

According to Associate Press and U.S. News & World Report, ‪#‎China‬ has imposed a 1 year ban on ‪#‎elephant‬ ‪#‎ivory‬ imports, takes immediate effect today.

Read article: http://www.usnews.com/…/china-bans-ivory-imports-for-1-year…

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Wildlife Conservation Film Festival & Biodiversity Conference
Christopher J. Gervais, Founder & CEO
Christopher@WCFF.org

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Ringleader of Rhino Wildlife Crimes Punished

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Zhifei Li, only thirty years old, the owner of an antique business in China, was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for heading an illegal wildlife smuggling conspiracy in which 30 rhinoceros horns and numerous objects made from rhino horn and elephant ivory worth more than $4.5 million were smuggled from the United States to China.

The sentence – one of the longest ever imposed in the United States for a wildlife smuggling offense – was announced by Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey; Sam Hirsch, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice; Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Dan Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

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Li, 30, of Shandong, China, the owner of Overseas Treasure Finding in Shandong, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas to a total of 11 counts: one count of conspiracy to smuggle and violate the Lacey Act; seven counts of smuggling; one count of illegal wildlife trafficking in violation of the Lacey Act; and two counts of making false wildlife documents. Judge Salas also imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

Li was arrested in Florida in January 2013 on federal charges brought under seal in New Jersey and shortly after arriving in the country. Before he was arrested, he purchased two endangered black rhinoceros horns from an undercover USFWS agent in a Miami Beach hotel room for $59,000 while attending an antique show. Li was arrested as part of “Operation Crash” – a nationwide effort led by the USFWS and the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute those involved in the black market trade of rhinoceros horns and other protected species.

In papers filed in Newark federal court, Li admitted that he was the “boss” of three antique dealers in the United States whom he paid to help obtain wildlife items and smuggle them to him via Hong Kong. One of those individuals was Qiang Wang, aka “Jeffrey Wang,” who was sentenced to 37 months in prison on Dec. 5, 2013, in the Southern District of New York. Li played a leadership and organizational role in the smuggling conspiracy by arranging for financing to pay for the wildlife, purchasing and negotiating prices, directing how to smuggle the items out of the United States, and getting the assistance of additional collaborators in Hong Kong to receive the goods and smuggle them to him in mainland China.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Salas ordered Li to serve two years of supervised release and to forfeit $3.5 million in proceeds of his criminal activity as well as several Asian artifacts. Various ivory objects seized by the USFWS as part of the investigation have also been surrendered.

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The result of Mr. Zhifei Li’s greed…

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