The illegal wildlife trade is one of the biggest challenges for many countries. Globally, illegal trafficking of wild animals and parts is ranked fourth after the illegal arms trade, the drugs trade and human trafficking. The respective organizations are cooperating with Traffic, the wildlife trade monitoring international network, to be able to control the trafficking of rare species. To prevent smuggling of illegal wildlife to foreign countries and to prevent wild animals from extinction, the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw confirmed, clause by clause, the bill on the protection of wildlife in the conservation of natural areas in the previous session of the parliamentary meeting and the bill will be made into law. Within a 20-year period from 1994 to 2014, millions of tonnes of hardwood in the country were lost through illegal logging, as well as rare wildlife such as elephants, bears, tigers, leopards, peacocks and snakes, all of which fell prey to poaching. The incumbent government has reformed the national-level task force for anti-wildlife and forest products trading in 2016. The legislative body, hand-in-hand with regional and state governments, wildlife conservation groups and the forest department, has raised public awareness of wildlife trafficking in big cities including Mandalay and cities in border areas. Similarly, the same awareness was raised at souvenir shops against sales of materials made of parts of those animals. The forestry department is gathering data about smuggling of wild animals and their parts in border areas with the assistance of international non-governmental organizations; the Wildlife Conservation Society and the World Wildlife Fund. Surprise checks are being made at border check points. Ivory, snakes, tortoises and pangolins are among the most common items being smuggled. Meanwhile, by launching the 10-year project in February for conservation of Myanmar elephants, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation has taken another important step to protect and conserve wildlife and to prevent conflicts between wild elephants and humans. Every week, at least one elephant is killed in Myanmar. Elephant skin, tail hairs, teeth and ivory are sold at tourist spots around the country and in markets in Yangon and Mandalay. There is also large trading along the border regions of China, and the area known as “the Golden Triangle” where three countries meet – Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. Ending wildlife trafficking is a responsibility for all of us. If we cannot prevent such illegal trading, our wildlife remains in peril.
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