Groundbreaking 'Zero Poaching' Push Unites Asian Countries
"Zero poaching" sounds like an impossible dream in many parts of the world. But a group of Asian nations are trying to make it a reality this week.
Conservationists from 13 countries with countless rare species have gathered for a five-day meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal. It's the perfect place to meet - despite the thriving poaching industry in Asia, Nepal is the only country to have reported zero poaching for rhinos, tigers and elephants over one year, ending February 2014. Other countries joining the conference include Bhutan, Russia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, India and Vietnam.
The symposium is the first of its kind ever, and will bring together experts, police forces, agencies and stakeholders to learn from successful anti-poaching missions. The countries plan to launch a coordinated continent-wide push to stop the slaughter of rare wildlife, reports The Borneo Post.
How did Nepal achieve zero poaching, when it's surrounded by countries that have terrible poaching problems? According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a high level of commitment from political leaders was key. The country's National Tiger Conservation Committee is even chaired by its Prime Minister. Nepal has also set aside massive chunks of habitat for protection: 10 national parks, six conservation areas and three wildlife reserves, covering more than 13,000 square miles - or 23 percent of the country. It's also been integrating new technology to help monitor wildlife, including Google Glass to record sightings:
Now the other countries at the gathering, held by Nepal's Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation and WWF, hope to see their numbers approach Nepal's. With wildlife trafficking becoming the fourth largest black market in the world, there's no better time for it.