Target: Burmese President Thein Sein
Goal: Stop the flow of endangered animal products across the Burmese border
Myanmar, also known as Burma, is one of the signers to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, which bans the trade of endangered species and any products made from them. Despite this, the Burmese city of Mong La is a nightmare for conservationists–one that is sadly indicative of a greater problem in the region.
The demand for products harvested from endangered animals such as tigers and spotted leopards rose dramatically in recent years among Chinese tourists and collectors, and entrepreneurs in bordering nations such as Myanmar are more than happy to accommodate. The city of Mong La is just one example of this widespread problem; because of the city’s proximity to the Chinese border, shopkeepers catering to Chinese travelers and tourists stock a wide variety of products made from endangered species. One survey found as many as 80 percent of Mong La’s shops stocked products containing tiger parts including everything from tiger skin rugs to tiger bone wine and even tiger meat.
The rise in demand for products made from endangered species on the Chinese market is at the root of this problem, but the Chinese government is not the only player who must take responsibility for protecting these animals. Tell the Burmese government to step up and protect vulnerable species from this horrific trade along its border.
Dear President Sein,
In recent years conservationists documented a dramatic increase in the flow of products made from the bodies of endangered animals across the Burmese border into China. Despite the sentiments reflected in the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, to which Myanmar is a signatory party, little has been done to stem this trend, particularly in border towns where products made from the remains of endangered animals are widely available and popular with tourists.
Tigers are especially susceptible to this illegal trade–everything from rugs and folk medicines made from tiger corpses to tiger meat can be bought with ease along Myanmar’s border with China.
The conservation of critically endangered species is the responsibility of all governments, and the apparent disregard for this blatant violation of international agreements on the trade of endangered species is disturbing. If we do not take action to protect vulnerable animals like tigers, leopards, and many other at-risk species that are being killed for profit, there will soon be none of them left.
The time to act is now. We, the undersigned, ask that you take immediate action to shut down the trade of endangered animal products, and set up a more proactive system of enforcement to ensure that this practice is ended.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Raul654 via Wikipedia