Towards Zero Poaching in Bhutan
“It is up to us to decide whether we want Zero Poaching or Zero Animals,” said Minister for Agriculture and Forests, Yeshey Dorji.
This week, WWF Bhutan brought together experts and partners from the government, IGOs, NGOs and civil society for Bhutan’s first-ever zero poaching symposium to develop the National Zero Poaching Strategy and to address the growing threats of poaching and illegal wildlife trade.
The Minister for Agriculture and Forests, Yeshey Dorji, called for close collaboration and coordination among different enforcement agencies in the country to curb poaching.
He said that while Bhutan is known to the outside world as a conservation leader, setting aside more than half of the country as protected area, the country must recognize the growing threats and cannot afford to remain complacent. The minister also said that zero poaching is indeed achievable and cited the example of Nepal, Bhutan’s neighbor, that has achieved Zero Poaching more than once. “We would like to tread the same path and make similar efforts in curbing these threats of poaching and illegal trade of wildlife,” he said.
Poaching and illegal wildlife trade are the most serious and immediate threats to Asia’s many charismatic and iconic species, such as tiger, rhino and elephants. Recent studies have shown that illegal wildlife trade is one of the top-five most lucrative illicit economies globally and its valued around $50 billion per year. A huge proportion of this activity occurs in Asia, and there is broad recognition that this threat will not recede without a clear region-wide up-scale of response.
Rohit Singh from WWF Wildlife Crime Initiative emphasized that absolute zero poaching is not possible but in fact, zero poaching is an approach of coming together to minimize poaching and illegal trade. Experts also highlighted the zero poaching toolkit that was developed with key six pillars of assessment, technology, capacity, community, prosecution and cooperation.
Bhutan’s current wildlife poaching scenario was also discussed along and some of the gaps in achieving zero poaching for priority sites in Bhutan were also identified. Best practices and latest advances in technology, such as SMART, were also reviewed.
The two-day symposium will conclude on September 29.
For further information, please contact:
Mr. Phurba Lhendup
Director, Species and Freshwater
WWF Bhutan, Thimphu Bhutan
Tel +975 17625770 email@example.com +975-2-323528/323316
Ms. Phuntsho Choden, Communications Manager,
WWF Bhutan, Thimphu Bhutan
Tel +975 17559945 firstname.lastname@example.org +975-2-323528/323316