A major Metropolitan Police initiative against the illegal sale of endangered species in London's Chinese medicine shops is launched today with the support of the Chinese community and Britain's leading wildlife charities. The new initiative will see a tough new focus on Chinese medicine practitioners selling goods that are made from, or even claim to be made from, endangered species. The launch takes place at New Scotland Yard at 11am today, and is run under the banner of Operation Charm, by the MET's Wildlife Crime Unit.
In Beijing, on November 7th, 2006, experts on shark conservation, research and management from Australia, China, Singapore, United States and United Kingdom, participated in the International Shark Conservation Meeting in Beijing, China. After discussion, The experts reached the following consensus:
Many species of shark are facing a serious threat to their existence because of worldwide fishing trends, environmentalists said Wednesday.
Fishermen "used to cut the lines and let sharks go," said Pete Kinghts, executive director of WildAid, a San Francisco-based conservation group, told a shark conservation conference. In recent years, however, fishermen have kept the sharks to sell their lucrative fins.
One-third of the more than 500 shark species are threatened with extinction or are close to being threatened, said Sarah Fowler of the World Conservation Union.
The practice is particularly crude and cruel, critics say. The "finners" pull the sharks onto the boat, hack off some or all of their four fins, then throw the shark, usually still alive, back into the water. Unable to swim, the sharks sink to the bottom of the sea and die.
"Not only is it horrible to look at," says Peter Knights, the executive director of Wildaid, a conservation group, "but it's sheer waste. Ninety-five percent of the shark is thrown overboard."
A struggling park halfway across the world has turned to Sequoia National Park for help in preserving a war-torn region that covers thousands of acres of rain forest and is home to some of the last Asian elephants and Asiatic bears on Earth.
Cambodia's Samlaut park was a Khmer Rouge stronghold until 10 years ago, and today its future is threatened by poachers, loggers and public indifference.