ASEAN, Partners to Stop Illegal Wildlife Trade

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With illegal trade in wildlife estimated at over $10 billion across Asia, the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) governments and international partners have signed a manifesto to stop illegal wildlife trade and arrest traffickers in the region.The signing of the new wildlife Manifesto, "Combating Wildlife Crime in Asia," marked the conclusion of the two-day ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network Conference which was participated in by ASEAN government delegations and representatives from about 20 countries, including 10 non-ASEAN countries, international organizations, and numerous non-government organizations active in wildlife and biodiversity preservation.Dubbed "A Forgotten Crisis: Arresting Wildlife Depletion through Strengthened Partnerships and Regional Cooperation," the meeting was held in Pattaya, Thailand from April 10 to 12 amid the massive anti-government protests."The Manifesto will help develop the Southeast Asia and South Asia wildlife enforcement networks into fully effective and sustainable platforms. These will have specially trained wildlife crime task forces within the national police forces and other enforcement agencies to track, monitor, investigate and share cross-border information and to stop illegal wildlife trade and arrest traffickers in the region," the ASEAN Secretariat said in a statement.ASEAN-WEN is the region’s largest environmental law-enforcement network. It links scores of environmental agencies, police organizations, customs bureaus and members of the judiciary from all 10 ASEAN member countries to share intelligence, conduct investigations, and train officers to combat wildlife trafficking and implement international and national laws regulating wildlife trade.The ASEAN Secretariat noted that over $10 billion illegal trade in wildlife has thrived across Asia, second only to weapons and drug smuggling. …