Asia Unites Against Poaching

Representatives from 13 Asian countries committed to immediate action to stamp out poaching at the conclusion of a four-day symposium hosted by the Nepal government in Kathmandu from February 2-6, 2015.

The Symposium: Towards Zero Poaching in Asia adopted five recommendations:

  • Swift and decisive action to elevate the importance and effectiveness of antipoaching initiatives and cooperation among all relevant ministries, departments and agencies within their borders, while at the same time strengthening international cooperation in the face of this serious criminal activity.
  • Adoption of the Zero Poaching Tool Kit and assessment of current antipoaching responses to determine improvements and close serious gaps.
  • Increase and improve collaboration as a successful antipoaching response is critically dependant on effectively engaging a diverse number of shareholders
  • Improve standards, training and support for rangers, other frontline staff and prosecutors.
  • Commit to identifying a Zero Poaching national contact point to effectively coordinate transboundary efforts to stop poaching.

Tika Ram Adhikari, Director General of Nepal’s Department of Wildlife Conservation and Soil Conservation, said: “Nepal was proud to host this vital conversation in Asia because we recognize that poaching is robbing us of our wildlife wealth, which includes tigers, rhinos and elephants. We cannot allow wildlife crime to continue to wrap its tentacles deeper into the region. Our individual efforts may win us a few battles, but we can only win the war if Asia presents a united front to stop the poaching, end the trafficking and wipe out demand.”

Mike Baltzer, Leader, WWF Tigers Alive Initiative, said: “This is the beginning of the end for poaching across Asia. WWF is proud to have supported this landmark meeting and is committed to be part of the new determined movement for Zero Poaching in Asia.”

Nepal was the natural host for the symposium having achieved zero poaching for two years in the past four years. At the symposium, representatives from local communities, protected areas as well as enforcement agencies shared their lessons lea

At the closing ceremony, Nepal’s legendary Chitwan National Park (CNP) also became the first global site to be accredited as Conservation Assured Tiger Standard (CA|TS).Despite the threats that CNP faces, the protected area has seen an increasingly effective management and protection regime. This further demonstrates the commitment of Nepal towards zero poaching.

Thirteen Asian countries participated in the symposium: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Russia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Lao PDR. Partner NGOs and other organisations included IUCN, TRAFFIC, CITES, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, US Department of Justice, SMART Partnership and Southern African Wildlife College.

WWF co-hosted the symposium with Global Tiger Forum, National Trust for Nature Conservation and the South Asian Wildlife Enforcement Network.

The symposium provides valuable direction on tackling poaching in advance of the Kasane Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade to be hosted by the Botswana government on 25th March 2015. This meeting follows the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade hosted by the UK government in February 2014, where 41 governments committed to taking “decisive and urgent action….” through the agreed declaration.