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Governments back call to strengthen protection for Asian elephants
An undercover investigation  revealed that elephant skin is being turned into powder for medical conditions and beads for jewellery.
Investigation exposes emerging trade in Asian elephant skin

International governments have backed a call to strengthen laws that will lead to the better protection of Asian elephants.

Representatives of Born Free and Elephant Family informed delegates at a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of an emerging illegal trade in Asian elephant skin.

An undercover investigation by Elephant Family in Myanmar revealed that elephant skin is being turned into powder for medical conditions and beads for jewellery and sold through online Chinese language forums.

Speaking on behalf of Asian elephants in Sri Lanka, Mr Ranjan Marasinghe, head of enforcement of the Department of Wildlife Conservation said: “As a range state we are aware of the multiple threats faced by Asian elephants and are concerned that the skin issue will expand to all range states if not stopped.”

The United States and the European Union were given approval for amendments to existing laws that protect Asian elephants, including a requirement for investigations into illegal trade and improved reporting on implementation.

“This is a big step forward for Asian elephants since the discussion at CITES is often dominated by African elephant ivory trade,” said Elephant Family’s conservation programme manager Caitlin Melidonis. “Our investigations helped shape the outcome of this important meeting but there is more to be done.

“Our job now is to ensure that the decisions outlined on paper translate to protection in the field.”

Speaking on behalf of Born Free Foundation, Gabriel Fava, said: “These important developments must lead to better cooperation and coordination across range States and help to identify gaps in capacity. We look forward to supporting countries to address those needs and ensure a sustained enforcement response against illegal trade”. 

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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News Shorts
NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”