A Step Closer: 4 Golden Triangle Shops Closed in Asia

In Wildlife

4 shops in Don Sao Market in the Golden Triangle was successfully shut down on July 27, 2018. ©WWF-Greater Mekong

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGpvRmN36mw

#Stopthetrade in Golden Triangle & Singapore

golden triangle
A tiger’s testicle of questionable authenticity on sale at Tha Phra Chan market, Bangkok, Thailand.

The Golden Triangle, comprising Thailand, Myanmar and Laos, is home to some of the most notorious illegal wildlife trade activities in Southeast Asia. And WWF wants to put a stop to it.

Our aim: To shut down 20 target markets in Asia by 2020.

Singapore acts as a major transit hub for illegal wildlife trade activities to thrive in these areas (see our investigative work here). Our strong connectivity is misused by syndicates to move products through our ports. This explains why Singapore makes such an attractive (cue: easy) route.

That is not all. We’ve also discovered that more than 40 shops in Singapore are still selling ivory products in the market – as highlighted in our recent Ivory Lane campaign.

We need to stop the demand.

SUCCESS IN DON SAO MARKET, LAOS

28 enforcement officers, police, courts, among others, conducted the raids at Don Sao Market on July 27, 2018.

With support of the Laos government, WWF has successfully shut down not one, but four shops at wildlife trade hotspot, Don Sao Market, in the Golden Triangle.

Two months ago, surprise raids were conducted, following the swift confiscation of almost 400 items including jewellery pieces like bracelets, bangles, necklaces made from parts of tiger, elephants and the like. Among the finds: horns, tusks and teeth being sold as standalone “art pieces”.

A total of 393 items that were inspected were then kept until the Provincial Governor and Department of Forest Inspection (DoFI) made a decision.

The items were taken for identification: Are they fakes? Do they come from endangered species?

The shop owners, too, were instructed to sign warning letters to stop selling wildlife parts.

This would not have been possible without the collective effort and commitment from the Provincial Wildlife Law Enforcement Network (P-WEN) of Bokeo Province and DoFI enforcement officers which also include the local police, army, courts, and customs.

WWF’s Progress towards the 2020 big win

golden triangle

Mid-last year, WWF-Myanmar organised an eight-day training rangers from Elephant Emergency Response Units around the country. The result: A group of trained wildlife rangers armed with crucial skills such as 1) collecting data and reports 2) understanding the biodiversity values in the landscape and 3) identifying and reporting illegal activity, conducting patrols, managing and processing crime scenes.

The best part: WWF-Myanmar is also working closely with Ministry of Natural Resources and Conservation (MONREC) to kickstart a first ever ranger training college in Myanmar!

What’s next

Shutting down of illegal wildlife trade markets makes one part of the equation. The other, demand reduction in the market. You and I, can play a part by:

  • Avoiding traditional medicines with dubious sources
  • Not buying souvenirs made of wildlife parts
  • Supporting stronger legislation in Singapore to address role in transshipment
  • Supporting a full domestic ban on ivory
  • Reporting illegal wildlife activities to authorities at wwf.sg/vr

The success of the four market closure in Don Sao Market is the outcome of WWF’s work in stopping illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia, taking us a big step closer towards our goal of closing 20 markets by 2020.

#togetherpossible

Love reading this? Find out more about Singapore’s ivory ban, things to know about Singapore and CITES, and WWF’s Tigers Alive initiative in doubling the number of tigers in the wild

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