U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe on May 7 signed an agreement with Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources Under Secretary Analiza Teh and Director of the Bureau for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Asis Perez to provide the Philippines with use of the National Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Oregon.
The agreement also will serve as the foundation for expanded anti-trafficking initiatives between Philippine and U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Under the agreement, samples of wildlife and biota collected by Philippine law enforcement officials can be tested at the lab. Results will be considered admissible evidence in Philippine courts and lead to more successful prosecution of wildlife traffickers.
The lab is a world leader in developing techniques for examining, identifying and comparing physical evidence of crimes against wildlife. It supports the law enforcement efforts of U.S. federal and state agencies as well as countries that have joined the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
“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 new agreement “exemplifies the sort of international cooperation that will help us win this fight and save species such as the African elephant and rhino.”
The Philippines is a thoroughfare for the trade of ivory and other illegally trafficked wildlife, and faces considerable challenges in combatting illegal and unsustainable fishing practices.
Above, Ashe (center) and U.S. and Philippine officials at the agreement signing.