On 20 May 2014, Wildlife Alliance, a partner of the USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking Program, conducted a wildlife trafficking seminar at Cambodia’s Port of Sihanoukville.

Thirty-three participants attended the event including customs officials, immigration police, port authority staff, and private sector shipping companies. The objectives of this training were to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trafficking, highlight relevant laws in Cambodia, discuss common ways that wildlife is shipped illegally, and enable identification of wildlife, wildlife parts, and fraudulent shipping permits.

Each participant received a comprehensive wildlife identification manual funded by USAID.  The training seminar was well-timed as, less than two weeks prior, a large shipment of ivory was intercepted at the port. With interdictions of illicit wildlife goods increasing in other ports of entry in Southeast Asia, the criminal syndicates profiting from the multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trade are exploring new transport methods to supply markets in China and Vietnam.

Cambodia’s Port of Sihanoukville has become such a target for traffickers with recent seizures of illegal products such as elephant ivory being smuggled through the port.  As trafficking methods continue to change, frequent training and seminars at strategic entry points in the region are required to keep pace with and, ultimately, dismantle transnational criminal groups exploiting the world’s endangered species.

Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update