LAOS’ SIN CITY IS AN ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE SUPERMARKET FOR VISITING CHINESE TOURISTS
LONDON: A resort complex tucked away in Laos and marketed to Chinese gamblers and tourists is a hub for trade in illegal wildlife products and parts, a new report reveals.
In Sin City: Illegal Wildlife Trade in Laos’ Special Economic Zone, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) documents how the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (GT SEZ) in Bokeo Province has effectively become a lawless playground.
The complex comprises a casino, hotel, shops, restaurants, a shooting range and massage parlours, and visitors can openly buy endangered species products including tigers, leopards, elephants, rhinos, pangolins, helmeted hornbills, snakes and bears – smuggled in from Asia and Africa.
Undercover investigators from EIA and its partner Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) documented restaurants with endangered species on their menus, from ”sauté tiger meat” and bear paws to reptiles and pangolins; one business kept a live python and a bear cub in cages, both of which were available to eat on request.
And the complex has ambitious plans for the manufacture of tiger bone wine. EIA/ENV found four tigers at the GT SEZ in mid-2014 but by February 2015 the number had risen to 35; a senior keeper revealed the goal is to acquire a total of 50 females for breeding to increase the population to 500 tigers within three years and to 1,000 in the long term to produce tiger bone wine for consumption at the GT SEZ and for export to China, via Yunnan.
The GT SEZ is run by the Chinese company Kings Romans Group, which has a 99-year lease and an 80 per cent stake in the operation. The Government of Laos has a 20 per cent stake in the GT SEZ, declaring it a duty-free area and giving it political patronage at the highest level.
Despite being situated in Laos, the GT SEZ functions more as an extension of China – it runs on Beijing time, signs are in Mandarin, most workers are Chinese nationals and the Chinese yuan is the main currency. Chinese nationals are permitted to visit with just an identity card rather than a passport.
The complex is accessed via a purpose-built 30km road from the nearest Laos town of Houaxay and China City Construction Group, a Chinese state-owned company, has been commissioned to build an international airport, a proposal which has created conflict with local farmers over land rights.
While Laos’ wildlife law enforcement is notoriously weak, there is not even a pretense of enforcement in the GT SEZ.
Debbie Banks, EIA Head of Tigers Campaign, said: “The activities within the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone constitute an intolerable disregard for international law as it concerns the illegal wildlife trade and endangered species.
“The Government of China urgently needs to recognise the immense damage this place does to its international reputation and to take meaningful action to rein in a Chinese company which is, in effect, running amuck with impunity in a neighbouring country with weak governance.
“China also needs to understand and accept that its legal domestic trade in the skins of captive-bred tigers is doing nothing but driving consumer demand – whether that demand is thriving at home or, as in the case of the GT SEZ, conveniently shunted into a neighbouring country.”
The report calls for the Government of Laos to immediately establish a multi-agency task force to tackle illegal wildlife trade at the GT SEZ and across the country, and to seize all illegal wildlife products at the GT SEZ.
It further calls on the Government of China to investigate connections between Chinese businesses and traders operating at the GT SEZ and wildlife criminals operating between Laos, Myanmar and China, and to cooperate with international counterparts to disrupt criminal networks.
In addition, Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) should seek CITES trade suspensions until such time as the governments of Laos and China demonstrate that adequate law enforcement, criminal justice and policy measures are being applied towards ending illegal wildlife trade associated with operations at the GT SEZ.
• Interviews are available on request; please contact Debbie Banks viadebbiebanks@eia-international. org or telephone +44 7773 428360, or Press & Communications Officer Paul Newman via paulnewman@eia-international. org or+44 20 7354 7960.
For information on illegal tiger trade in Vietnam, please contact Douglas Hendrie at Education for Nature Vietnam on firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +84 4 6281 5424.
1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK- and Washington DC-based Non-Governmental Organisation that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals. More info at http://eia-international.org/
2. Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) is an independent national Vietnamese NGO whose mission is to foster a greater understanding among the Vietnamese public about the need to protect nature and wildlife. ENV works closely with Government and partners to strengthen policy and legislation and directly support enforcement efforts to protect endangered species. ENV has led NGO efforts in Vietnam to document the illegal trade in tiger parts and products, including from tigers that have come from captive sources in Vietnam and neighbouring Laos. More info at http://envietnam.org/
3. Read & download Sin City: Illegal Wildlife Trade in Laos’ Special Economic Zone at http://eia-international.org/ wp-content/uploads/EIA-Sin- City-FINAL-med-res.pdf
That is the lie that animal abusers tell everyone to try and change the subject from protecting exotic cats to a message of mere competition.
They trot out their modified version of our 20 year plan to back up their ridiculous claims, but they leave out the most important part of the plan, which is that there no longer be big cats suffering in captivity, and thus no longer a need for sanctuaries, including Big Cat Rescue’s sanctuary.
As the public becomes better educated about why it is so wrong to breed wild cats for life in cages, they will cease to support industries that breed them as pay to play props, for circuses and other abusive purposes. There will temporarily be an increased need for real sanctuaries, which are those who meet the following standards.
1. Real sanctuaries do not breed exotic cats for life in cages.
2. Real sanctuaries do not buy wild cats.
3. Real sanctuaries do not sell their wildlife.
4. Real sanctuaries do not let the public, nor their staff or volunteers handle the big cats, other than for veterinary purposes.
5. Real sanctuaries do not endanger the public and the big cats by taking them off site for exhibition.
Big Cat Rescue LOVES real sanctuaries and helps them by:
1. Providing guidance on best practices to help the sanctuary qualify for and obtain accreditation through the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries.
2. Hosting workshops and conferences for those who want to do the right thing for wild animals.
3. Training volunteers and international interns in understanding that each animal is an individual who is to be respected and treated with dignity.
4. Sending work groups of our own volunteers out to help after disasters and when other sanctuaries are short handed.
5. Sharing the secrets of our success with those who demonstrate clearly that they are putting the animals first.
Those who exploit wild animals for their own gain hate us because they don’t want the public to know that:
1. There is no reason to breed big cats in cages, as none of them in private hands can ever be set free.
2. There is no captive breeding program that benefits conservation, other than AZA administered SSP programs.
3. Paying to play with a cub or see one on display actually harms conservation efforts.
4. Tigers could disappear from the wild because of the smoke screen caused by their legal breeding of generic tigers.
5. A ban on private possession is the first step toward saving tigers in the wild.
Exploiters claim that if the Big Cats & Public Safety Act were to pass that they would be put out of business and wouldn’t be able to help “rescue” lions, tigers, leopards, ligers and other exotic cats, but that isn’t true. Big Cat Rescue is one of the most successful sanctuaries in the world and we do it by being open, honest and treating the cats with kindness and respect. We want sanctuaries to thrive, and they can do that if they employ the same attitudes and behaviors that we have in being a real sanctuary.
Any real sanctuary, who is doing their work for the animals and not their own sense of satisfaction, will share our goal of a world where all wild cats live free.
Genie the Sandcat is rushed to the vet when her keepers note that she is acting weird.
Genie Sandcat was sedated in a glass box used for domestic cats.
This was to make sedation easier on her since she is only 3.3 pounds and 14 years old.
Dr. Wynn keeps a close eye on her vitals.
The monitors are just all over the place, so she has to rely on feel, sound and instincts.
For such an old and tiny cat, Genie Sandcat has some fearsome teeth!
The tiniest mask straps are too big, so Carole holds the gas mask in place.
Sandcats are the softest of the exotic cat species.
No spinal issues and her lungs don’t look terrible, but she has a case of bronchitis.
This is good news, because Genie Sandcat is given a long lasting antibiotic shot and has a good chance at recovery.
Dr. Wynn gives her fluids, steroids and antibiotics to help tiny little Genie fight off her symptoms.
Genie Sandcat’s paw is the size of the tip of Jamie Veronica’s finger.
Sandcat paws are fully furred on the bottom for running on desert sands.
Violations at Big Cat Facilities 2011-2014
The USDA site doesn’t work most of the time and when it does it is so slow that most browsers will time out and quit before you can download the information you are looking for. This information is current as of Oct. 3, 2014.
A fossil recently found in the Zanda Basin in Tibet included remains of Pantera blytheae, a new species of big cat that is most closely related to the modern day snow leopard.
The skull of P. blytheae is the oldest big cat fossil found to date, and fills a significant gap in the fossil record. It indicates that ancient big cats lived nearly 6 million years ago, 2 million years earlier than previously thought, and sheds light on their geographic origins in Asia.
Illegal Maiming and Killing of Bobcats and Mountain Lions
A Mesa County outfitter and his assistant guide were indicted Tuesday on allegations that they conspired to lead clients on illegal hunts in Western Colorado and Utah between 2007 and 2010, state and federal officials announced.
Christopher W. Loncarich, 55, of Mack, and Nicholaus J. Rodgers, 30, of Medford, Ore., were hit with a 17-count indictment related to their alleged practice of illegally capturing and maiming mountain lions and bobcats in order to make hunting the cats easier for their clients, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a Wednesday news release.
The men are charged with conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, interstate felony transportation and sale of unlawfully taken wildlife, and felony creation of false records concerning wildlife that was sold in interstate commerce.
Kind of creepy, but so is killing animals for their fur.
Two baby endangered clouded leopard cubs are now on the lighthearted prowl at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.
6-month-old felines, a male and female, were born in March in separate litters at Nashville Zoo and Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
The shy but curious cubs have been paired as potential mates by the Clouded Leopard Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The leopard cubs will live in the Asian Gardens exhibit at the zoo.
According to the zoo, there are a total of just 69 clouded leopards in 24 North American AZA-accredited institutions.
The zoo said clouded leopards are found throughout forests and rainforests in Southeast Asia. They are known for being skilled climbers and can even hang from tree branches by their hind feet. Another distinctive feature of clouded leopards is their long canine teeth, which are longer in proportion to body size than those of any other wild cat species.
Interestingly, clouded leopards are not actually leopards, as their name implies, but a separate species of wild cat. The name clouded leopard is taken from the cloud-shaped spots with dark outlines on their tan coats.
The charismatic cubs weighed only about a half pound each at birth, and were hand-raised together by zoo keepers of the two AZA-accredited institutions. Clouded leopards are the smallest of the “big cats,” weighing 30 to 50 pounds in adulthood and measuring about five feet long.
Two female felines named Maddie and Tenchi recently relocated to the Denver Zoo for their golden years
2 clouded leopard cubs debut at Lowry Park Zoo
Two baby endangered clouded leopard cubs are now on the lighthearted prowl at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.