International guidelines for protected species have to adhered to by all nations (but aren’t) for wildlife to have a chance

Namaste, Jack here.  I’ve had a few people message me saying they want to read my blog but not at Facebook (fully understand many people don’t like to use Facebook) where I do have some posts that are not here.  We’re streamlining our online platforms including here at wildleopard.net as well as at wildtiger.org, hopefully this will be finished soon.  Many thanks to those who care about these issues and take the time to read these blogs and updates.  You can contact me directly at jk@wildtiger.org

Just under 3 years ago my birth country, New Zealand, legally recognized animals as sentient beings, in that many species express “human like” emotions. The bill was introduced partly to enable more streamlined enforceability of animal welfare laws. Soon I’ll tie in how a colleague reasons some wildlife species especially big cats but specifically apex predators maintain a degree of intelligence far beyond others and this cognitive thought process ties in with sentience as well as their ecological role.
A case I’m following very closely at the moment, and I’m in communication with the prosecutors, involves a U.S. citizen falsifying records after killing a leopard in South Africa so he could import the cat’s skull and skin into the U.S. The man has pleaded guilty and the sentencing hearing begins on 25 June. Leopards are listed as a protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The three countries involved in this particular case, the U.S., South Africa and Mozambique (used as a transit) are all signatories to the treaty. Trophy hunting of leopards in South Africa has been suspended due to concerns of plummeting population. Mozambique still issues trophy hunting licenses. The leopard is also a listed as endangered and protected under U.S. domestic law but leopard body parts (trophies) are still imported under legal framework.
In India the leopard is a protected species but there is disparity of sentencing across different states. In Nepal the leopard is not on the protected species list, those of you who follow these pages know we are working on that issue.
These two paragraphs give very briefly a hint of the inconsistencies involved for just one species, albeit a highly important one ecologically. Across our various online platforms we’ve been bringing recent news of three cases, the Premchai case in Thailand (a high profile businessman shot and ate a black leopard, as well as other wildlife), the Salman Khan case in India (just use google to see the chaos) and the Jagari case (tiger poacher) here in Nepal which Pragati will be updating on soon. There are of course thousands of cases before courts globally.
CITES is claiming they are making solid progress and in some ways I agree. However until there is greater adherence to international guidelines, those on the front lines in the battle against wildlife crime are really up against it. Stiffer and internationally CONSISTENT penalties for all involved in the wildlife trafficking thread (poachers, traders, kingpins and buyers) from ALL nations is ultimately the answer to this environmental crime which unfortunately. like climate change, is suffering from delayed reaction by the general public.
The sentencing on June 25 of the man who illegally killed and imported a leopard into the U.S. is another test piece. The upper limit fine is 250,000 dollars. Let’s see how close it gets to that…