WWF’s ‘Most Wanted’ List Highlights 10 of the Most Widely Traded Endangered Species in the Markets of the Golden Triangle
TRAFFIC, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network. They represent species most often seen for sale in a criminal trade that threatens wildlife across Asia and into Africa. A major driver of the trade is tourists from China and Vietnam traveling to areas such as MongLa and Tachilek in Myanmar, and border areas such as Boten and the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Laos.
tigers pass through the Golden Triangle, where they end up in tiger wine, on dinner tables, in dubious medicines or as luxury items and jewelry. The growing trade in elephant skin, combined with continuing demand for ivory, is threatening elephant populations from Asia to Africa. Bear farms are rampant across the region, where both Sun Bears and Asiatic Black Bears – mostly captured in the wild -- are kept in tiny cages while their bile is collected for traditional medicine and folk remedies.
rhinos are being poached at the rate of three per day to feed the demand for their horns in places such as Vietnam, where it is mostly consumed as a symbol of wealth, as well as for traditional medicine. It supposedly cures hangovers and fevers but rhino horn is in fact made from the same material as human nails, with no medicinal value. A more recent trend in rhino horn jewelry and carved horns is also threatening rhinos.
pangolin, which is in high demand in China and Vietnam for its scales and is considered the most trafficked animal in the world. The helmeted hornbill has a massive helmet-like structure on its head that is ideal for carvings similar to ivory. Demand from China has led to a steady decline in populations.
serow may not be well known, but this mountain dwelling goat-like species is highly prized for its meat and body parts, which are used in traditional medicine in Laos. Leopards, which were once widely found across Southeast Asia, are now poached for their skin and skulls, which are found in high numbers in the markets of the Golden Triangle.
are widely sold, both alive and as decorative objects, usually ending up on dinner plates. Finally, the world’s largest species of cattle, the gaur, is declining globally thanks to demand for its impressive horns, which collectors like to have as trophies on their walls.
The report, photos, background information and infographics can be found here.
The Greater Mekong is home to some of the planet’s most endangered wild species, including the tiger, saola, Asian elephant, Mekong dolphin and Mekong giant catfish. A total of 2,409 new species of plants, birds, mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles have been discovered in the Greater Mekong since 1997. WWF-Greater Mekong works on conservation initiatives through country programmes in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. WWF-Greater Mekong’s mission is a future where humans live in harmony with nature. To learn more about WWF’s activities, please visit us at www.greatermekong.panda.org