Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Asia’s biodiversity vanishing into the marketplace


Unless the wildlife trade can be controlled, Asia will lose much of its unique biodiversity, experts of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said today in Kuala Lumpur at the 7th Conference of the Parties for the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-7), convened to address the world’s priority conservation issues.

"Asia’s wildlife is being sold on a massive scale throughout the region for food, medicines and pets, and populations of many species are declining or facing local extinction," said WCS scientist Dr Melvin Gumal, a participant at COP-7 and Director of WCS’s Malaysia Program.

The trade includes everything from small songbirds sold as pets, to reptiles sold on a massive scale for their skins and their meat, to animal parts for medicinal use. Even species once thought of as common are becoming rare as they are being trapped, shot or snared and sent to the marketplace. The result is loss of wildlife across the region.

"In many parts of Asia, it is easier to see animals in the markets than in the forest," said COP-7 delegate Dr Kent Redford, Director of WCS’s Conservation Institute and originator of the "empty forest syndrome" concept, used to describe forests after hunters decimate their animal populations. "As animals that perform vital roles in the forest as predators, pollinators and seed dispersers disappear, other species will also go."

In last 40 years, 12 species of large animals have become extinct or virtually extinct in Vietnam due mainly to hunting and wildlife trade. Even protected areas are losing their wildlife. In Sulawesi, the ranges of the anoa (a small species of wild cattle) and babirusa (a member of the pig family) are shrinking because of hunting pressure. In Thailand’s Doi Inthanon and Doi Suthep National Parks, all tigers, elephants or wild cattle have been hunted out.

Some actions are being taken. Thailand and Lao PDR have both recently conducted major enforcement operations to try to reduce the illegal trade in their cities. Assisted by the NGO TRAFFIC, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur’s airports have stepped up efforts to prevent transit of illegal wildlife.

The Malaysian state of Sarawak has taken it further. In 1998, the Government of Sarawak (Malaysia) banned all commercial wildlife trade throughout the state. To enforce this new policy, major legal changes were made to the existing Wild Life Protection Ordinance (1998), and gun owners were also restricted to cartridges purchases of 10/gun owner/month. Mass publicity, conservation education and enforcement programmes were then carried out repeatedly in the rural and urban areas. Within five years, all visible commercial wildlife trade disappeared from the major markets in the cities and smaller towns.

"The Sarawak case shows that it can be done," said Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, Director of the Hunting and Wildlife Trade Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society. "Commercial wildlife trade can be curtailed through the combination of education programs, strong laws, and effective enforcement. In the last six months alone the Sarawak government has seized 457.1 kg of wild meat and 165 live animals--birds, primates, reptiles and fish--through its newly strengthened enforcement operations."

In addition to reducing the loss of the world’s biodiversity, COP-7 will also address priority issues such as the biodiversity of mountain ecosystems, the role of protected areas in conserving biodiversity, and the transfer of technology and technology cooperation.

With the CBD’s increasing emphasis on balancing protection with sustainable use of natural resources, the trade in wildlife must been seen for what it is: an unsustainable practice that is rapidly depleting Asia’s forests, rivers and oceans.

John Delaney | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>