According to WWF, the wildlife trade in Myanmar is on the rise

A report by the World Wildlife Fund has shown that unsold online sales of wildlife in Myanmar are growing as a threat to public health and a variety of pests.

The report was released on Friday that implementation of the ban on those trades had been weak amid political unrest following the 2021 military takeover.

The number of such transactions rose 74% over a year to 11,046, nearly all of them related to the sale of live animals. Of the 173 species traded, 54 were threatened with extinction, the report said.

The researchers found 639 Facebook accounts for wildlife marketers. The largest online marketing group has more than 19,000 members and a number of posts each week, he said.

Animals bought and sold included elephants, bears and gibbons, Tibetan antelope, fearsome pangolins and an Asian giant turtle. The most popular are the various monkey species, often sold as animals.

Most of the animals advertised for sale were taken from the wild. They also include civets, as well as pangolins that have been shown to be vectors that can spread diseases such as SARS and COVID-19.

Shaun Martin, head of WWF’s Asia-Pacific regional cybercrime project, said the look at cybercrime shows that different types of cybercrime are being treated, sometimes in-house. one.

“With Asia’s history as a breeding ground for the latest zoonotic diseases, this huge increase in the online trade of wildlife in Myanmar is of great concern,” he said.

Unregulated trade in wild species and the effect of interactions between wild species and humans increases the risk of new diseases or the prevention of similar diseases. with COVID-19 being able to convert undetectable in non-human hosts to more dangerous forms of disease. To say.

COVID-19 is one of the many diseases found in animals. The killing and sale of bushmeat in Africa is believed to be the cause of Ebola. From chicken pox on the market in Hong Kong in 1997. The disease is thought to have evolved from cattle disease.

“Wildlife trading is critical from the perspective of conserving and preserving biodiversity and its impact on health security,” said Mary Elizabeth G. Miranda, an expert on biology. zoonotic and diseases and Director of the Field Epidemiology Training Program Alumni Foundation in the Philippines.

Social media and other websites have joined in the global effort to end the successful trade in birds, reptiles, mammals and animal parts. In Myanmar, the majority of wildlife trafficking is through Facebook, which is a member of the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking online that has worked to block or expose the stories of those involved in such activities. .

But as is true elsewhere, new stories often emerge when old ones are replaced, which are hindering implementation, so that the show can be seen. Online access to animals is driving demand, increasing the risk.

Negotiations of buying the types of items are often held on open Facebook groups, indicating that those transactions remain “no problem,” the report said. Because payments and withdrawals are often made using messenger programs, it is difficult to prevent the problem.

Revealing the lack of implementation, people in Myanmar’s unscrupulous wildlife trade often use basic methods of moving animals and animal products around – with cars being the norm. of the carrier.

WWF’s study in Myanmar focused on the online trade of animals and other wildlife in the country, although there were some imports from Thailand related, most of which birds such as hornbills and crested salmon cockatoos, and crocodiles, in India.

Some operations could involve animals or parts sent to China, he said.

The conservation group said it was planning future studies to better understand Myanmar’s role in global trade in a variety of forms.

Tiger, pangolin farmer in Myanmar faces ‘increasing demand’

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Directions: WWF report on rising wildlife trade in Myanmar (2022, March 31) downloaded on March 31, 2022 from wildlife-myanmar.html

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