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Wildlife Champion Pursues Traffickers to the Hills and Back Alleys

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Don't ever pass up a chance to watch a slideshow featuring Josefina De Leon. These photos certainly won't put you to sleep. The camera follows her along rural roads and into back streets of cities across the Philippines, where she and her colleagues pursue traffickers and make major busts of illegally traded wildlife. Ever the undaunted force relentlessly exposing smuggling, De Leon is now also famous not for tickling the ivory, but for crushing it.

For the past 13 years, De Leon has been the tireless leader at the forefront of the Philippines' fight to protect its wildlife and natural resources. She is Chief of the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division. Long title - tall order.

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Operation Cobra II Press Release

OPERATION COBRA II PRESS RELEASE - 10th FEBRUARY 2014

African, Asian and North American Law Enforcement Officers Team up to Apprehend Wildlife Criminals

Law Enforcement officers from 28 countries today announced that they completed a joint one month global operation on January 27th , code-named "Operation Cobra II" targeting wildlife criminals. The global wildlife law enforcement operation was coordinated by two International Coordination Teams (ICTs) based in Nairobi and Bangkok respectively, and was conducted under the auspices of the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) and China's National Inter-agency CITES Enforcement Coordination Group (NICECG), with links to countries across Africa, Asia and the USA. Operation Cobra II resulted in over 400 arrests and more than 350 major wildlife seizures. The cooperative effort also saw the first ever joint China-Africa undercover sting operation that identified and arrested members of a major ivory trafficking syndicate.

During Operation Cobra II, investigators from participating countries joined together with the World Customs Organization (WCO), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), INTERPOL, LATF, ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) and the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) and exchanged real time intelligence on a daily basis, targeting poachers and traffickers of endangered elephants, rhinos, tigers, pangolins, turtles and other species sought by criminals.

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Myanmar: Combating Illegal Wildlife Trafficking and Illegal Logging (Dec 2013 - Jan 2014)

7 December 2013 - 788 snakes were found to be transported by two motor vehicles at (16) mile checkpoint of Patheingyi Township, Mandalay Region by a team of officials from Forest Department, Custom Department and Myanmar Police Force. All the alive vipers were saved and transferred to No.1 Pharmaceutical Industry (Yangon) for medicinal purposes, while alive racer snakes were released back into the nearest protected area, Shwe-U-Daung Wildlife Sanctuary. And the dead ones were set ablaze for destruction. The motor vehicles employed for transport remained at the Custom Department Office of Patheingyi Township, Mandalay Region. One defendantwas being charged in accordance with section 35(a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994) and shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine of up to Kyats 10,000 or both. The other one allegedly involved was also put into the custody for further investigation.

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Myanmar: Combating Illegal Wildlife Trafficking and Illegal Logging (Oct-Nov 2013)

12 October 2013 - A hand-made rifle together with other hunting gears and a pair of chain block believed to be used in logging were found unattended by wildlife rangers of Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park during their regular patrol inside the park. A hand-made rifle was kept at the Police Station of Yinmapin Township for further investigation.

16 October 2013 - Forest Department Officials found 33.26 kilograms of dried meat of wild cow or banteng (Bos banteng ) and 0.5 cubic meter of teak sawn-timber during their patrol in proposed North Zamrari Elephant Range. The dried meats confiscated were destroyed, and no suspect could be identified for that case.

17 October 2013 - Two alive pangolins were seized from two persons on a motorbike running on Mandalay-Lashio Highway Road by a team comprised of Forest Department Officials and Myanmar Police Force. The offenders are being charged in accordance with section 37(a) of the Protection of Wildlife and Protected Areas Law (1994) and shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years or with fine of up to Kyats 50,000 or both. The confiscated pangolins were then released into their natural habitat near Lashio Township.

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