Earthtrust initiated its first land-based program in 1989, focusing on the need to preserve and protect tigers. As an outgrowth of the process of gathering information, establishing Asian contacts and building a worldwide network for tiger protection, Earthtrust's concerns have expanded to include other species endangered by illegal trade and vanishing habitats.
Earthtrust also works directly with foundations and visionary individuals to create custom strategies and programs to save targeted species and habitats; for information contact ET president Don White at this address:
Until 1994, Keith Highley [66K GIF picture of Keith in field] and Suzie Chang Highley managed Earthtrust's field office in Taiwan, investigating wildlife trade and the sale of animal body parts used in the preparation of traditional medicines. Demand for these products drives the poaching, smuggling, and black market network worldwide for a variety of species from tiger to bear and rhinoceros. The Highleys created an awareness and education campaign to inform the public about the threat to African and Asian rhinoceros species resulting from the popularity of rhino horn-based medicinals. A Chinese-language color map, brochure and video titled "Save the Rhino" have been produced using information and footage obtained on the Asian Wildlife Initiative's African expedition.
An extensive market survey of tiger parts in Taiwan was completed in March 1993. The data confirms the continued demand for a variety of tiger parts, despite domestic laws which prohibit trade in endangered species. The Highleys developed a five-point Action Plan for Taiwan which emphasizes effective law enforcement and education as necessary steps toward ending the consumption of tiger parts. Earthtrust efforts have also included providing information and documentation to Washington DC State Department and USFWS officials regarding Taiwan's promises to take concrete steps to shut down the trade in rhino horn and tiger parts. We support legislative measures designed to ensure strengthened legislation, enforcement and penalties concerning the sale and possession of endangered species products.
Earthtrust, in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States, has also done extensive field work to document the trade in bear parts, particularly bear gall bladders and bear paws, which are parts of the Chinese medicine and the "exotic gourmet" trend in East Asia, respectively. The Highleys again spearheaded this effort, conducting sometimes dangerous undercover work in China. Their sometimes shocking results are documented in their extensive report, titled "Bear Farming and Trade in China and Taiwan".
Driftnetting and dolphin-drive fisheries are also monitored on a regular basis. In the spring of 1990, Earthtrust campaigners from Hawaii, California, New Zealand, and Taiwan met on the island of Penghu, Taiwan to document the traditional capture and slaughter of migrating dolphins. Many of the dolphins and pseudorcas captured were released after Earthtrust recruited the support of educational, religious, and political leaders in negotiating with the local fishermen. Because of Earthtrust's activities to focus international attention on the issue, the Taiwan Council of Agriculture added dolphins to the list of protected species covered by their Wildlife Protection Law. Earthtrust continues to work toward supporting enforcement of the new law and preventing the capture of dolphins in Taiwan, by conducting information programs for school children and community groups.
Photos of Dolphin Kills at Penghu.
CAUTION: The following photos contain graphic images of dolphins and false killer whales being tortured and butchered at Penghu. NOT FOR THE QUEASY.
[Penghu Photo 1: 66K GIF]
[Penghu Photo 2: 66K GIF]
[Penghu Photo 3: 66K GIF]
[Penghu Photo 4: 50K GIF]
[Penghu Photo 5: 66K GIF]
Earthtrust participates in various international conferences and forums relating to wildlife issues. At the 1992 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meeting in Kyoto, Japan, Earthtrust provided testimony and information on the need to strengthen bans on trade in endangered species; particularly rhinoceroses and Siberian tigers. In October of 1992, Earthtrust representatives were invited to attend the first-ever Asian CITES meeting in Chiang Mai, Thailand. In November of that year Keith Highley joined international tiger conservation experts gathered in Indonesia to participate in two workshops on the protection of Sumatran Tigers. The 1993 UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) Donor's conference in Kenya for rhinoceros conservation was attended by our Taiwan managers. An Earthtrust corporate sponsor in Taiwan donated funds which the Highleys arranged to have distributed for specific rhino protection projects in Zimbabwe, Namibia and Nepal.
... and continuing into the 21st century: Saving Asian species through SSN:
Earthtrust was a founding member of Species Survival Network, the international organization that brings together many of the world's pro-wildlife organizations to chart strategy through CITES. ET representative Linda Paul serves on the SSN international Board of Directors. In addition to continuing to push for strong protections for Asian and Pacific wildlife, Earthtrust is promoting the wider use of its DNA forensic tools to track wildlife smuggling: the basic techniques work with almost any tissue of almost any animal. The forces against wildlife are growing in strength; and sophisticated tools and strategies are one of the best hopes of keeping them at bay.
The Endangered Wildlife Initiatives are crucially dependent on contributions for its programs each year - your support is welcomed.