***NEWS FROM WCS*** CONTACT: STEPHEN SAUTNER: (1-718-220-3682; [email protected])MARY DIXON: (1-347-840-1242; [email protected]) Laos, China and Viet Nam Enhance Cooperation to Combat Transnational Wildlife Trafficking Networks

• Frontline enforcement officers from Laos, China and Viet Nam conduct first-of-its-kind field mission from Guangzhou to Vientiane to strengthen international cooperation and coordination• Mission focused on trade route across Indoburma which is believed to cover the most significant illegal flow of elephant ivory, pangolins scales, tiger bones, and freshwater turtles and tortoises• Partners draft a new roadmap for collaboration

Newswise — VIENTIANE, LAOS (April 7, 2016) – Frontline enforcement officers from key provinces, ports and border posts in Laos, China and Viet Nam completed an inter-agency field mission this week to share experiences, approaches and update the situation on wildlife smuggling networks along the major Indo-Burma trade route. Throughout the mission, participants visited key sites along the trafficking network such as the Qingping traditional medicine market in Guangzhou and significant smuggling points along international borders. Meetings with local officers were held to better understand the situation on the ground, build relationships, share intelligence on recent cases and enhance strategies for cooperative actions. This trade route across IndoBurma is believed to cover the most significant illegal flow of elephant ivory, pangolin scales, tiger bones, and freshwater turtles and tortoises. While governments in the region have provided a political voice to combatting wildlife trafficking networks, this has yet to translate into on-the-ground action at the network level, and trafficking networks continue unabated. In order to summarize the results of the mission, the Department of Forest Inspection (DoFI) of Lao PDR hosted a meeting in Vientiane. Participants discussed past challenges to effective transnational cooperation and drafted a roadmap for collaboration in 2016. This included establishing direct communication protocols and mainstreaming wildlife trafficking into bi-lateral meetings between frontline agencies through the development of further bilateral agreements between neighboring provinces. Mr. Yin Bangxiang - Deputy Director of China’s Guangxi Anti-Smuggling Office, praised the action: “In many countries enforcement cooperation is restricted to political pledges in a meeting room; so it is very encouraging that each participant should pay more effort to advocate the government to operate their commitments immediately.” Mr. Air Vilarket, Deputy Director of DoFI’s Department of Wildlife and Aquatic Life Inspection, was pleased with the outcomes of this mission. “Participating in the mission benefited our participants greatly. We learned about wildlife trade along the route, the mandate of law enforcement of each country, and in near future we hope this will facilitate targeted training and information exchange to improve regional collaboration.” Mr. Pham Quang Tung, of CITES MA Viet Nam, stated that: "Wildlife trade is a serious transnational crime and it is critical that we enhance sharing information across borders for frontline officers; we hope to develop mechanisms to enable this in the coming year.” The mission was hosted by the CITES Management Authority of China and Vietnam, the Department of Forest Inspection (Lao PDR), facilitated by WCS and the Chinese Wildlife Conservation Association, with support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the blue moon fund.

The WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a US nonprofit, tax-exempt, private organization established in 1895 that saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. With long-term commitments in dozens of landscapes, presence in more than 60 nations, and experience helping to establish over 150 protected areas across the globe, WCS has amassed the biological knowledge, cultural understanding and partnerships to ensure that vibrant, wild places and wildlife thrive alongside local communities. WCS was the first conservation organization with a dedicated team of wildlife veterinarians and other health professionals deployed around the world. The WCS Wildlife Health & Health Policy Program focuses on problem-solving at the wildlife / domestic animal / human health and livelihoods interface, as underpinned by a foundation of environmental stewardship. Visit: www.newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242. For more information please contact:WCS Vietnam: Mr Vu Hai Chau, [email protected] +8491 234 6026WCS China: Miss Qijing He, [email protected] +8618620217166WCS Lao: Mr Thanvar Phoutthamangxay, [email protected] +85602028260184