“On the Trail” n°40, the defaunation bulletin

6 May 2024

“On the Trail” n°40
the defaunation bulletin
(pdf, 261 pages – 8.2 Mb)

1,532 events with references, checked, analysed, commented and strengthened
between March 1 and May 31, 2023.
376 iconographic documents, 
10 maps and historical archives.

Dying for a backscratcher
That’s what happened to an elephant. Seizure in China from a traveller’s backpack. See page 28 ref. 69.

The police arrest the police
South Africa’s elite police force raided the premises of the Maitland Flying Squad (a suburb of Cape Town) and arrested 6 police officers accused of trafficking abalone and drugs. See page 220, ref. 5.

European ground squirrels make their first appearance in “On the Trail”. In Romania, Vietnamese workers spend their free time digging up nearby lawns to capture ground squirrels in their burrows and improve their living conditions in the refectories. See page 121 ref. 22.

Interior design
At Dongxing in China, seizure of 8 stuffed peafowls in 8 packages declared to contain, among other things, “car dashboards”. See page 138, ref. 71.

In Cambodia, 2 clouded leopard kittens were rescued by a patrol after a poacher got rid of them before fleeing. They are now being bottle-fed in the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. See page 60 ref. 80.

32 wolf events
See pages 64 to 69, page 194 (ref.13), page 207 (ref.83 and 85), page 208 (ref.90 and 92), page 209 (ref.95).

The European Union, a large and well-established market for reptiles stolen from the wild
Seizure of 85 geckos at Vienna International Airport, Austria. The range of the seized species includes South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and southern Angola. Cf. page 181 (ref.12).

Glass eel trafficking in Haiti
When fishermen drown, “l’al Chili” (they leave for Chile). See page 234, ref. 13 and page 235, ref. 14.

Gator poaching in the USA
Pages 182 to 184.

Guanacos are South America’s forgotten species
Pages 95 and 96.

These two hornbill chicks were on their way to the Maldives in a passenger’s luggage. See page 143 (ref.80).

Sand boas
A new rumour is bringing them bad luck. They are said to contain iridium, a strategic metal. See page 175 (ref.10).

Double game
Madagascar. Turtle theft by employees of turtle refuges. See page 167 (ref.2).
France. The director of the ART (Turtle Refuge Association) in Bessières near Toulouse and 2 employees have been placed under judicial supervision. They are suspected of selling endangered species, releasing invasive species and embezzlement. See page 172 (ref.40).

Seizure in Haiphong of 7 tonnes raw elephant ivory and carved ivory in 3 maritime containers declared to contain peanuts. See page 30 (ref.80).

Seizure of 18.5 kg of lion’s claws on a ship loaded with bauxite from Guinea. Based on 2 grams per claw and 18 claws per lion, the seizure represents more than 500 lions. If there are any lions left in Guinea, they can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Cf. page 39 (ref.9).

The index on page 259 has been updated with new entries:
– Shahtoosh (stoles made from the wool of the Tibetan antelope Pantholops hodgsonii)
– Gang Mabuza-Nyalunga-Mnisi (rhinos South Africa)
– Kinkajou (Potos flavus)
– Totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) (Contraband of swim bladders)
– Erhus made of python skin (Pythonidae)
– Vaquitas (Phocoena sinus)

Some prices
– Pangolin: 485 US$/kg of scales in Nigeria.
– Elephant: between 170 US$ and 2,000 US$/kg of ivory in Africa.
– Bengal tiger: 24,450 US$ per skin in India.
– Brown bear: 610 US$ per skin in Russia.
– Yak: 24 US$ to 306 US$ per tail in India.
– Deer: 1,670 US$/kg of antler in China.
– Macaque: 300 US$ in Asia to supply the laboratory animal market (30 US$ before Covid-19).
– Long-eared owls: 100 US$ per pair in Uzbekistan.
– Gecko: 275 – 660 US$ on the European market.
– Sea cucumbers: 846 US$/kg in Italy.


“On the Trail” n°40

“On The Trail” has been carried out by the NGO Robin des Bois since 2013 with the support of the Fondation Brigitte Bardot, the Fondation Franz Weber and the French Ministry of Ecological Transition. “On the Trail” gets sponsorship from the Séché Environnement group.


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