Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



FLORA AND FAUNA
Vietnam 'supermarket' for illegal wildlife trade, hearing told
by Staff Writers
The Hague (AFP) Nov 14, 2016


New Chinese home for 'world's saddest polar bear'
Shanghai (AFP) Nov 14, 2016 - A polar bear dubbed the "world's saddest" by animal rights activists has been removed from a Chinese shopping mall where campaigners said it was suffering in unsuitable conditions.

The Grandview Mall in the southern city of Guangzhou held a farewell party for Pizza the bear at the weekend, it said on social media.

A spokesman for the mall, which set up an "Ocean World" attraction with 500 species to try to draw in shoppers, told AFP: "Pizza left the aquarium with escorts after the farewell party" on Sunday.

Chinese media reports said he was returning to the facility where he was born in captivity in the northern port of Tianjin.

The mall claimed the move was a temporary one due to the facility being renovated, and that Pizza would return after the works were completed.

But the US-based Humane Society International mounted a media-friendly campaign to highlight the bear's plight, coining the description the "world's saddest polar bear" and generating global headlines.

It distributed video showing Pizza pacing around his 40-square-metre glass-fronted enclosure and shaking his head as onlookers took pictures on their cellphones.

The footage showed the bear was in poor physical and mental condition, it said.

Peter Li, China policy expert at HSI said in a statement: "Pizza the polar bear has endured a life of deprivation and suffering in his small, artificial glass-fronted room at the shopping mall.

"At last he will feel the sun on his fur, sniff fresh air and see the sky above in the company of his mum and dad."

The move was a result of public pressure, he said, and suggested that if the bear was in poor health that could be another factor.

"We implore the Mall to make this a permanent move for Pizza and to not condemn him to return," he added.

Pictures of the bear's farewell party posted on China's Twitter-like Weibo by the mall showed children queuing up to say goodbye to the bear.

"Tears and sadness are only temporary, we will make the cosiest home to await your return," it said.

A Vietnamese village has become "a supermarket for illegal wildlife trafficking" raking in millions of dollars, a special hearing was told Monday.

The two-day public hearing in The Hague is laying out the findings of a year-long undercover investigation by the new Wildlife Justice Commission.

The probe has provided "clear and irrefutable evidence of an industrial-scale crime hub in the village of Nhi Khe in Vietnam," said the commission's executive director Olivia Swaak-Goldman.

"Urgent, decisive action" was needed, she told about 200 people gathered at The Hague's imposing Peace Palace.

The commission, set up last year, has no power to bring charges, but hopes the hearing will push Vietnam and other countries to crack down on the global $20-billion (18.5-billion-euro) trade in wildlife poaching.

Five experts, including international judges, will set out recommendations on Tuesday for further action.

But it seems Hanoi has already been spurred into action ahead of a major international conference on wildlife trafficking it is hosting later this week.

On Saturday, Vietnamese authorities destroyed a stockpile of two tonnes of ivory and 70 kilos (154 pounds) of rhino horn, which had been uncovered by the commission.

Former US assistant New York attorney Marcus Asner, an advisor on wildlife trafficking to US President Barack Obama, said it was "a good step" but more was needed.

Nhi Khe had become "a supermarket for illegal wildlife" with "massive quantities of rhino horn for sale and huge quantities of elephant products" openly on display, he said.

The commission says it has identified 51 people involved in the illegal trade in Nhi Khe, operating out of 16 shops dotted around the small village. The names have been given to Hanoi.

But "justice has not been activated in this case by the authorities in Vietnam, despite months of discussions and clear and detailed evidence," said Swaak-Goldman.

During five return visits in 2015 and 2016, the undercover operation found $53.1 million worth of parts from rhinos, elephants and tigers in Nhi Khe, just 17 kilometres (10 miles) south of Hanoi.

There were parts from up to 907 elephants, 579 rhinos and 225 tigers. But there were also other dead animals for sale, including pangolin, bear, hawksbill turtles and helmeted hornbills.

They were smuggled to the Southeast Asian country mostly from Africa and overwhelmingly destined for customers in China.

- Massive profits -

After a sale is agreed, business is then conducted on WeChat, the Chinese version of the mobile phone messaging service WhatsApp, with the buyers providing account details of Chinese banks for payment.

"What is most lacking is enforcement, and this is based on the absence of political will," said international judge Motoo Noguchi.

"The culture of impunity prevails."

A series of undercover videos showed shopkeepers weighing piles of ivory and rhino horn. There were also hundreds of bangles, necklaces and figurines.

One elephant tusk was estimated at $29,000 -- a fortune in the country where the average monthly salary is $210.

One woman trafficked an estimated $2.2 million in products over 12 months from her mansion, with a brand new Mercedes outside, the commission's senior legal investigator Pauline Verheij told the hearing.

Despite crackdowns elsewhere, an interpreter told the team it was safer to shop in Nhi Khe as people there "had their connections" ensuring police turned a blind eye.


Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com






Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
FLORA AND FAUNA
Vietnam destroys huge ivory, rhino horn cache
Hanoi (AFP) Nov 12, 2016
Vietnam destroyed a huge stockpile of ivory and rhino horn Saturday, urging the public to stop consuming illegal wildlife products driving several species towards extinction. The ivory and rhino horn trade is officially banned in Vietnam, but its use in traditional medicine and for decoration remains widespread, especially among the communist country's growing elite. It is also a popular ... read more


FLORA AND FAUNA
China jails 49 over giant explosions

Iraqi investigators examine mass grave site near Mosul

Brazil mine gets safety gear -- too late

Haiti aid hard to come by one month after hurricane

FLORA AND FAUNA
First random laser made of paper-based ceramics

A new type of convection is proven in granular gases

Scientists have 'scared away' microparticles with laser light

Study: Math scares everyone, even physicists

FLORA AND FAUNA
Myanmar probes controversial China-backed dam

Conservation meeting mulls fate of bluefin, swordfish

Quantifying the hidden environmental cost of hydroelectric dams

Experts call on climate change panel to better reflect ocean variability in their projections

FLORA AND FAUNA
Iceberg patrol gains faster updates from orbit

Thawing ice makes the Alps grow

How much Arctic sea ice are you melting? Scientists have the answer

Kerry to be first US top diplomat to visit Antarctica

FLORA AND FAUNA
Agriculture victim of and solution to climate change

Pest control: Wicked weeds may be agricultural angels

As Delhi chokes, farmers defend scorched earth policy

Chile's cold south makes wine in warming climate

FLORA AND FAUNA
Two dead after NZ quake, residents flee tsunami

6.2 quake hits eastern Japan: USGS

Massive 'lake' discovered under volcano that could unlock why and how volcanoes erupt

Popcorn-rocks solve the mystery of the magma chambers

FLORA AND FAUNA
Africa waits and wonders on Trump's foreign policy

Mali coup leader readies for trial over massacre

Lesotho army chief, accused of 2014 coup attempt, resigns

President says UN 'scapegoating' Kenyan soldiers in S.Sudan

FLORA AND FAUNA
Traumatic stress shapes the brains of boys and girls in different ways

Neanderthal inheritance helped humans adapt to life outside of Africa

Evolution purged many Neanderthal genes from human genome

The fate of Neanderthal genes




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement