Authorities clamp down on illegal wildlife traders (Myanmar)


Kyaw Ko Ko , Myanmar Times

Date Published

Wildlife authorities and anti-smuggling officers are stepping up efforts to clamp down on the illegal trade of wild animals through the Mandalay-Muse road by intensifying inspections at checkpoints along the busy route.

The illegal export of organs and parts of wild animals has recently been reported to be increasing, along with the illegal trade of drugs, arms and human trafficking, Mandalay Department of Forestry assistant director U Moe Thu said.

Most of the goods seized by officers were bound for China, he said.

“According to current findings, majority of the wildlife seized were snakes and tortoises. Mandalay has become a centre for illegal traders,” U Moe Thu said.

The illegal routes for exporting whole and parts of wild animals in Myanmar are Myitkyina-Kanpaikti and Myitkyina-Laiza road in Kachin state to China, Mandalay-Lashio-Muse-Shweli road in Mandalay region to China, Taunggyi-Keng Tung-Mong La road in southern Shan state to China, Taunggyi-Keng Tung-Tachileik road to Thailand, Mawlamyaing-Myawaddy and Ye-Dawei-Phayar Thonesu road in Mon state to Thailand, said an official from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) U Aung Kyaw.

He said the department will intensify its checks on goods passing through the route, adding that offenders will be immediately arrested. Officers will also be properly trained to detect possible traffickers.

“As the public don’t know these laws yet, public awareness and educational programs will be conducted for widespread knowledge,” said U Aung Kyaw.

From 2010 to 2016, a total of 210 cases of illegal wildlife trade was reported nationwide. Out of that number, 29 cases were from the Mandalay region, according to the Department of Forestry.

Section 37(a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Conservation of Natural Areas Law states that any act of killing, hunting or wounding a completely protected wild animal without permission, and possessing, selling, transporting or transferring such wild animal or any part of a completely protected wild animal without permission shall be punishable with up to 7 years in jail and a fine of K50,000.