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Myanmar authorities have continued to step up its national efforts to strengthen its commitments in curbing illegal wildlife trafficking and illegal logging.

From August to September of 2013, Myanmar authorities have been able to enforce its relevant wildlife legislations as follows:

16th August, 2013 - In collaboration with Myanmar Police Force, Forest Department officials seized one (1) alive Tokay (Gekko gecko) of 15 inches in length from two suspects at the transboundary checkpoint between Myanmar and India. The defendants are being charged in accordance with section 35 (a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), which can be punished with imprisonment of up to 3 years, or fine of Kyats 10,000, or both.

22th August, 2013 - Forest Department officials seized 14 tortoises and 3 turtles at Oattwin Township in Bago Region and arrested a suspect. The suspect is being charged in accordance with section 35 (a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), which can be punished with imprisonment of up to 3 years, or fine of Kyats 10,000, or both.

24th August, 2013 - Myanmar Police Force seized 47 pangolins from a suspect in Thahton Township of Mon State. All confiscated pangolins were released into their natural habitats. The defendant is being charged in accordance with section 37 (a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), which can be punished with imprisonment of up to 7 years, or fine of up to Kyats 50,000, or both.

24th August, 2013 - In collaboration with Myanmar Police Force, Forest Department officials seized 105 tortoises (Rakhine Forest Turtle - Heosemys depressa) and arrested a suspect in Hopone Township of Shan State. Five (5) turtles died. The remaining 100 have been kept at the Turtle Rescue Center of Forest Department in Naung-Cho Township, Shan State. The defendant is being charged in accordance with the section 36(a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), which can be punished with imprisonment of up to 5 years, or fine of up to Kyats 30,000, or both.

5th September 2013 - Custom Department officials seized 449 snakes in Muse Township of Shan State and arrested one suspect. The seizure included 197 cobra, 157 rat snakes and 95 racer snakes. Of all confiscations, 1 racer snake, 5 cobra and 25 rat snakes died, and the remaining 192 cobra were transferred to No.1 Pharmaceutical Industry (Yangon) for medical purposes. The other 226 snakes were released into their natural habitats. The defendant is being charged in accordance with section 35(a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), which can be punished with imprisonment of up to 3 years, or fine of up to Kyats 10,000, or both.

The Forest Department of Myanmar has also seriously paid attention to combat other associated trade including illegal timber trade that leads to deforestation, forest degradation and loss of royalties. Combating against the illegal timber trade is also a collaborative action between the Forest Department, National Police Force and local administration. During the month of October 2013, a total of 2922.35 cubic meters of illegal timber were seized from 1070 cases. The suspects involved in the illegal timber trade were charged in accordance with the relevant laws, particularly with Forest Law (1992).

In September of 2013, authorities were able to seize and recover illegally logged timber in Chatthin, Shwe U Daung and Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuaries, as follows:

7th September 2013 - A patrol team from Chatthin Wildlife Sanctuary seized 7 logs of Dipterocarpus tuberculatus (2.5 cubic meters) on 7 bullock carts, and arrested a total of 8 defendants. The defendants are being charged in accordance with the section 36(b) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), which can be punished with imprisonment of up to 5 years, or fine of up to Kyats 30,000, or both.

11th September 2013 - Shwe U Daung Wildlife Sanctuary and Forest Department officials from Kyaukme District of Shan State seized 14.87 cubic meters of timber. All the confiscations are kept at the Forest Department office of Kyaukme Township. The suspect is still being investigated.

12th September 2013 - Rangers from Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and Forest Department officials seized 22.4 cubic meters of timber that was illegally logged from the Wildlife Sanctuary. Suspect is still being investigated.

 

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3 November 2013 - Royal Thai Customs at Suvarnabhumi Airport recovered 72 Black Pond Turtles (Geoclemys hamiltonii) and eight other turtles, including six Crowned River Turtles (Hardella thurjii), one Three-keeled Land Tortoise (Melanochelys tricarinata) and one Indian Eyed Turtle (Morenia petersi), from two bags that arrived on a flight from Bangladesh.

6 November 2013 - Royal Thai Customs and DNP CITES Officers at Suvarnabhumi Airport seized 475 turtles, which include 423 Indian Star Tortoises (Geochelone elegans) and 52 Black Pond Turtles (Geoclemys hamiltonii). The animals were found inside 2 uncollected suitcases, which arrived on Thai Airways flight from Dhaka, Bangladesh

8 November 2013 - Thai Royal Customs at Suvarnabhumi Airport arrested a Pakistani national on a flight from Lahore, with four suitcases containing 470 Black Pond Turtles. These turtles varied in size from 6cm to 25cm long.

The smuggling was in violation of the section 27 of Customs Act, B.E. 2469; the section 16,17 of Customs Act, B.E. 2482; and the section 23, 24 of Thailand Wild Animal Reservation and Protection Act, B.E. 2535.

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Acting on a tip-off, a team of environmental police from the Ministry of Public Security raided three farms in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong yesterday, detecting and seizing more than 600 wild animals, along with wild animal products.

The inspections began at a farm in Duc An town, Dak Song district on September 11 morning. The farm is owned by Tran Danh Cuong, 47, who was absent at the time of inspection.

While searching the farm, inspectors found more than 100 wild live animals belonging to Group IB, which includes endangered and critically endangered species, including jungle cats, copperheads, douc langurs, panthers, monkeys, weasels, gayals, gibbons, and kraits.

In addition, inspectors found many carcasses that had been processed for making stuffed animals or being kept as specimens.

Inspectors also found a handbook of transactions between the farm and other traders and breeders of wild animals.

All the wild animals and wild animal products were seized.

Later the same day, the team continued to raid two other farms in Kien Thanh Commune, Dak K’Lap District, owned by Pham Cong Nhan, 46, and Le Truong Son, 42.

Inspectors detected and seized more than 500 wild animals and wild animal products in the two farms. Like at Cuong’s farm, all of these animals are rare, precious and endangered species.

Accompanying the team, Le Van Thieu, a forest protection officer at the Dak Song District, said that all the people involved will be held criminally responsible.

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Myanmar Authorities Recover Illegal Firearms and Timber in 2 Wildlife Sanctuaries

Trees were illegally logged in Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary

The Forest Department of Myanmar has seriously paid attention to combat illegal wildlife trade as well as associated trade such as the illegal timber trade that leads to deforestation, forest degradation and loss of royalties. Combating this trade is the collaborative action between the Forest Department, National Police Force and local administration. In the month of July in 2013 alone, a total of 3,279.51 cubic meters of illegal timber were seized from 1,070 cases. The suspects involved in this illegal trade were held accountable for violation of the law, particularly the Forest Law (1992).

It was also reported that on 3 July 2013, a patrol team from Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary recovered 10.91 cubic meters of illegally logged timber from the Sanctuary. No suspect was identified in said case.

Illegal Hand-made firearms found in Chatthin Wildlife Sanctuary

From 28-29 July 2013, officers from the Chattin Wildlife Sanctuary and Myanmar National Police Force were able to confiscate 15 hand-made firearms at four different places inside the wildlife sanctuary. The firearms were believed to be used for hunting wild animlas, especially the Myanmar Golden Deer (Cervus eldi thamin), an endemic species of Myanmar. Chattin Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the Protected Areas in Myanmar that protect the deer.

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June 2nd, 2013 - In collaboration with Forest Department officials, Myanmar National Police Force seized 77 tortoises and turtles in Pyi Gyi Tagon Township of Mandalay Region and arrested one suspect. The seizure included three Arakan Forest turtles, four Impressed tortoises, 27 Asian Leaf turtles and 43 Yellow tortoises. All confiscations are kept at the Turtle Rescue Centre and will be released to their natural habitats. The defendant is being charged in accordance with section 36 (A) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law(1994) and can be punished with imprisonment of up to 5 years or with fine of kyats 30,000 or with both.

June 18th, 2013 - In collaboration with Forest Department officials, Myanmar National Police Force seized 11 Kg of Pangolin scale from a suspect on the local bus running on the Kalay-Reed Road in Teetain Township of Chin State. The confiscated Pangolin scale are kept at the Forest Department Office of Teetain Township. The defendant is being charged in accordance with section 37 (A) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994) and can be punished with imprisonment of up to 7 years or with fine of kyats 50,000 or with both.

June 18th, 2013 - A Mobile Inspection Team of Kalay District seized 155 Kg of dry orchids and 72 sheets of Barking Deer skin from a suspect on the local bus running on the Kalay-Tamuu Road in Chin State. The confiscated dry orchids and Barking Deer skin are kept at the Forest Department Office of Kalay Township. The defendant is being charged in accordance with section 36 (B) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994) for dry orchids and section 41 (A) of the Forest Law (1995) for barking deer skin and can be punished with imprisonments of up to 6 years or with fine of up to 40,000 kyats or with both.

June 25th, 2013 - Myanmar National Police Force seized a suspect together with 1.633 Kg of Edible Nest Swiftlet Collocalia fuciphaga (white and brown) at the airport of Myeik Township in Taninthayi Region. The confiscated Edible Nest Swiftlet are kept in Forest Department Office of Myeik Township.The defendant is being charged in accordance with section 37 (A) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994) and can be punished with imprisonment of up to 7 years or with fine of kyats 50,000 or with both.



Record of Seized Illegal Wildlife Trade in Myanmar ( June 2013 )

No. Date Seized Items Place Seized Organiztions Action Taken with Remark
1 2-6-2013 77 heads of Tortoises (alive) PyiGyiTagonTownship, Mandalay Region FD, MNPF 36 (A) Alive animals are to be released to their habitats.
2 18-6-2013 Pangolin Scale (11 Kg) Teetain Township, Chin State FD, MNPF 37 (A)  
3 18-6-2013 1. Dry Orchids (155 Kg),
2. Barking Deer Skin (72 sheets)
Kalay-Tamuu Road, Chin State Mobile Inspection Team of Kalay District 1. 36 (B)
2. 41 (A) of Forest Law (1995)
 
4 25-6-2013 Edible Nest Swiftlet (1.633 Kg) Myeik Township, Taninthayi Region MNPF 36(A)  

Notes: All cases are taken action by Protection of Widlife and Protected Areas Law (1994) and only exception is for barking deer skin.

Abbreviation: FD = Forest Department, MNPF =Myanmar National Police Force

36(A) Whoever commits killing, hunting or wounding a protected wildlife species or seasonally protected wildlife species without permission, possessing, selling, transporting or transferring such wildlife or any part thereof shall, on conviction be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years or with fine which may extend to Kyats 30,000 or with both.
36(B) Whoever commits removing, collecting, or destroying in any manner any protected wild plant within the designated area without permission shall, on conviction be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 5 years or with fine which may extend to Kyats 30,000 or with both.
37(A) Whoever commits killing, hunting or wounding a completely protected wildlife species without permission; possessing , selling , transporting or transferring such wildlife or any part thereof shall, on conviction be punished with imprisonment for a team which may extend to 7 years or with fine to Kyats 50,000 or with both.
41(A) Whoever commits extracting, removing, keeping in possession unlawfully any forest products, with the exception of timber from teak and reserved tree, without a permit, be punished with fine which may extend to Kyats 10,000 or with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with both.[Forest Law (1995)]
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