The Guardian newspaper has published a lengthy and very admirable report about how senior Laos officials, going all the way up to the Prime Minister’s office, worked with businesses involved in the mass importation and exportation of the body parts of endangered species for financial profit. The government took a cut of the profit which was labelled a “tax”.
The figures are extraordinarily large, by which I mean the number of animals killed for their body parts and the amount of money made in exporting the body parts are enormous.
In 2014 the deals were worth $45 million of animal body parts which included the killing or “disabling” of 165 tigers, more than 650 rhinoceroses and more than 16,000 elephants
Trading of these species and their body part is prohibited by the law in Laos and perhaps more importantly in an international treaty, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The Laos government has always openly stated that they support the above-mentioned treaty but clearly, in reality, they do not support it but undermine it completely. It is hard to imagine more corrupt and immoral behaviour from a national government in respect of wildlife conservation.
However, I’m sure that other Asian countries are doing similar things. Laos is a hub if you like or a trading post for animal body parts from Thailand and India (and perhaps Africa) from where they are shipped onwards to Vietnam and China.
The Laos government protected a man, and I presume his partners, who was heavily involved in the trafficking of animal parts from Africa and other countries. This man is Vixay Keosavang. It is said that he was and is so well protected that nobody can arrest him despite ample evidence that he was trading illegally in vaste numbers.
This man signed agreements with the Laos government which granted him permission to trade 12 different species including crocodiles, monkeys and pangolins anteaters and other animals. As stated, the numbers are vast. For example, the agreement allowed him to trade in the skins of 100,000 pyntons and the shells of 45,000 turtles.
Another company, Vannaseng Trading was authorised by the Laos government to traffice ivory in blatant breach of CITES and internal laws. The evidence suggests that in 2014, the business was authorised to trade 90 tonnes of ivory which equates to 13,432 elephants and 20 tonnes of tiger skin and bone and claws. This was and continues to be state sponsored crimimality and an clear example as to how these corrupt governments in Asia are destroying the world’s precious and rapidly diminishing wildlife including iconic species.
I’ll stop there. If you want the full details please read the Guardian article. I detest these corrupt governments and officals. The Laos Prime Minister’s Office (also implicated) has failed to take the opportunity to comment. Surprised? No. They have nothing to say. But I’ll tell you this. Nothing will change and no country will enforce this damn useless treaty called CITES. CITES is a complete waste of space. Things need to change.