US, PH sign accord on wildlife trafficking

Posted at 05/14/14 8:56 PM

MANILA - The Philippines has signed a bilateral agreement with the United States to combat trafficking and other crimes against wildlife.

The agreement will allow the country to access and use the US National Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Oregon, which is the only laboratory in the world dedicated to crimes against wildlife.

The results of the tests of wildlife samples and biota can be used as evidence in Philippine courts, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Cuisia Jr. said.

“With this agreement, our law enforcement authorities in the Philippines can be expected to more effectively prosecute wildlife traffickers and other offenders,” he said.

The laboratory is a global leader in developing techniques for examining, identifying, and comparing physical evidence of crimes against wildlife using a wide range of scientific procedures and instruments.

The lab supports law enforcement efforts not only in the US but also in the 179 other countries that have signed the United Nation's Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Director Dan Ashe of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Environment Undersecretary Analiza Teh and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources National Director Asis Perez.

“The fight to prevent wildlife trafficking and halt its devastating impact on some of the world’s most well-known and well-loved wild animals is going to take a global effort,” Ashe said.

The agreement will also serve as the foundation for expanded cooperative anti-trafficking initiatives between Philippine and United States law enforcement agencies in coming years, the Philippine embassy said.