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Myanmar Strengthens Its Efforts Against Illegal Wildlife Trafficking and Illegal Logging

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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