|Greek spur-thighed tortoise; an endangered exotic import in Japan|
A report recently indicated that Japan is a major importer of rare plants and animals. It was released last week with affiliation to an international conference on biodiversity protection being held in Nagoya. The report titled "State of Wildlife Trade in Japan" was prepared by a wildlife trade monitoring group known as TRAFFIC, stated that the nation has ranked No. 2 in the importing of live tortoises and birds and No. 3 in orchids in 2007. Keeping note that Japan is currently hosting the international biological diversity talks, the report also indicated that the nation is aiming to favor greater understanding of its trade patterns. This way, the economy in the wildlife trade can be guided toward "responsible consumption."
Japan has been known to import roughly 1600 species of 5000 animal species and 28000 plant species appointed by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The report even included that there is a rise on import cases, numbering about 50,000 in 2007 which is five times more than twenty years ago. It has also been noted that the report found endangered species from Southeast Asia and Japan's Ryukyu black-breasted leaf turtle on sale in pet stores of Kanto and Chubu regions. The turtle's sale, however, is banned because it is a protected species. But that does not stop the importing process from functioning. The report also discovered that Japan was a top importer in Indian star tortoises and Greek spur-thighed tortoises. Traffic is now consulting the legislation to harden the rules and penalties on the trade of these animals.
I'm very glad to see that TRAFFIC has been actively alert for any activities regarding the trade of endangered wildlife, especially in a time like this when Japan was hosting an international conference to discuss the protection on the world's biodiversity. I sure hope that the nation's legislation will approve this report issued by the monitoring network, which includes the statistics on Japan's imports of exotic wildlife. I also hope that during this conference, Japan will state some of its new and tough rules on the importing of exotic wildlife in its land. This way, the world will witness further protection of endangered wildlife.
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