(Nay Phi Taw, Myanmar) Authorities in Myanmar have recorded 11 seizures of illegally trafficked wildlife since May 2010. The Forest Department, Department of Border Trade, Myanmar Police Force and the Army have mutually seized more than 1,100 endangered live turtles, tortoises, big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum) and wildlife products such as pangolins scales, ivory tusks, wild cat skins and Sambar antlers between May and August 2010. The majority of seizures took place at checkpoints on the borders with China and Thailand.
On August 5, 2010, Myanmar national park staff and local authorities, with Wildlife Conservation Society (Myanmar Program) staff released 35 big-headed turtles (Platysternon megacephalum) back into their natural habitat in one of the protected areas in Kyaik Hti Yo Wildlife Sanctuary in Mon State. The big-headed turtles were seized by the One-Stop-Service (OSS) at Lashio, Northern Shan State last July 16, 2010, and cared for at the Yadanabon Zoological Garden in Mandalay.
(Photo credit: Ministry of Forestry, Union of Myanmar)
The big-headed turtle is a protected species under Myanmar’s national Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994), Act 37(A). Wildlife offenders convicted of breaking this law face up to 7 years in prison, and/or up to 50,000 kyats in fine. The big-headed turtle is classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and listed as Appendix II under CITES permitting only regulated and controlled trade.
Myanmar National ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) Focal Point and Director of the Nature and Wildlife Conservation Department of the Ministry of Forestry Mr Win Naing Thaw said "Myanmar is pleased to report our interagency enforcement actions and rest assured that our Government remains committed to the goals of ASEAN-WEN through national enforcement and regional / border collaboration. As a proud member of the Network, we will ensure that offenders are prosecuted with the full extent of the law."
“This is an encouraging update from the Myanmar Government, our current chair country of ASEAN-WEN”, said Manop Lauprasert, Senior Officer of the ASEAN-WEN Program Coordination Unit (PCU). “We have to work together if we are to defeat the well organized criminal syndicates and follow the trail up to the kingpins behind the illicit trade in the region”.