On May 22nd-23rd, 2013, WCS conducted a training workshop for law enforcement officers of the China Customs in Huangpu, Guangzhou. A total of 93 officers have attended the event, receiving training on wildlife conservation and trade patterns. This event featured both Chinese and international experts delivering presentations and hands-on practice. Covered topics ranged from wildlife conservation regulations to the identification of commonly traded wild animals and wildlife products, including timber.
Wildlife trade continues to be viewed as the single greatest threat to many species across the globe. Currently, China is regarded to be one of the major importers of turtles, snakes, ivory, tiger skins and bones, Saiga horns and pangolin. Guangzhou is the main terminal of such trade flows, which originate as close as neighbouring countries (pangolin and Saiga horn) and as far as Africa (elephant ivory).
Paul Crow (KFBG) delivering his lecture on the identification of reptiles in trade.
The Customs Bureau plays a crucial role in controlling wildlife smuggling given its role of gatekeeper. Several success cases have shown the relevant impact that law enforcement at this trade node potentially has, such as the seizure of 2090 dead pangolins and 1.8 ton of scales seized in Jiangmen city in July 2010. However, WCS believes that such cases represent only a minor fraction of the actual trade size, and investing in the efficiency of front-line officers is necessary in order to increase the effectiveness and impact of illegal wildlife trade law enforcement.
Yafang Yin (Chinese Academy of Forestry) explaining basic skills for identifying timber.
In the past four years, WCS has built strong relationships both with the General Administration of Customs (GAC), and its local bureaus in Beijing and Guangzhou. In a number of occasions we have been directly approached for technical consultations and capacity building initiatives. Building on these solid foundations, we have been able to deliver this ad hoc training workshop in Huangpu – the major river port of Guangzhou.
Scott Roberton (WCS) explaining the most effective techniques for identifying ivory and rhino horn.
Trainees consulting the species identification booklet prepared by WCS.
Trainees taking notes during a session of the workshop.
Trainees practising on the identification of ivory vs. bones.
Trainees practicing the identification of ivory vs. plastic through the use of UV lights.
The Wildlife Conservation Society would like to express its deepest gratitude to the Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden for its continued support to our training programs targeting South China law enforcement officers. This workshop was made possible also thanks to the collaboration of the Huangpu Customs authority, the China CITES Management Authority, and the Research Institute of Wood Industry at the Chinese Academy of Forestry in Beijing.