Target: Irina Bokova, Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Goal: Condemn Chinese sailors who crashed into a protected coral reef while transporting illegal pangolin meat
According to a recent issue of the Star Tribune, a Chinese boat not only crashed through a protected coral reef in the Philippines, but was also found to contain meat from the endangered pangolin, a type of anteater. Meat from the poached animals, discovered frozen on the ship in about 400 various cargo boxes, weighed over 20 thousand pounds. The boxes were not found upon primary examination, but were discovered later by Coast Guard officials.
The vessel crashed at the Tubbataha National Marine Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. Officials from the Philippines World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF – Philippines) claim that the Chinese boat did not contain the proper legal documents for sea navigation. Once caught, sailors on the boat pretended to be fishermen. They are now being held by police for poaching and attempted bribery. National Park attorneys may also press charges for damage to the coral reef.
International trade in pangolin meat has been banned since 2002. Both the meat and skin of the pangolin are extremely valuable in China, where they are used as homeopathic health remedies. According to WWF-Philippines, the trade in illegal wildlife is a 19 billion dollar per year industry. The Chinese sailors in this incident face up to 12 years in prison and $300,000 in fines for poaching, plus six more years for possession of pangolin meat. Ask UNESCO to condemn these sailors and seek punishment not only for the poaching and sale of pangolins, but also for destruction of the coral reef.
Dear Ms. Bokova,
A Chinese transport vessel recently crashed into a protected coral reef in the Philippine Tubbataha National Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afterward, Coast Guard officials found that the ship contained illegal pangolin meat, which the ship’s crew was attempting to transport to China where it fetches a high price. The endangered pangolins, a type of small anteater, were clearly poached, and they were being moved illegally across the sea. Moreover, the coral reef into which the ship crashed may have experienced significant damage, endangering wildlife throughout the area.
When interrogated after the event, these sailors pretended to be fishermen. In fact, they were traveling without proper legal boating documents, transporting a poached endangered species, and navigating without any regard to the environmental health of a UNESCO World Heritage site. I ask that you condemn these sailors, insisting that they are punished accordingly for their crimes.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Valerius Tygart via Wikimedia