Greenpeace welcomes the decision of the world's governments to take stricter measures to control the widespread criminal trade in ramin timber from the endangered habitat of the Orang-utan and the SumatranTiger. Given the high volume of illegal trade in this species, a greatchallenge lies ahead for all governments to implement and enforce thisdecision.
Orangutan - head and shoulders visible.
The Parties to the Convention in International Trade in
Endangered Species (CITES), being held in Bangkok, voted to list
ramin on Appendix II and place restrictions that forbid the export
and import of the timber coming from illegal and destructive
"Today's decision provides governments with the necessary legal
and enforcement measures to crack down on the smuggling of illegal
ramin and those criminal networks who control this trade,"said
Nathalie Rey of Greenpeace. "To date, neither Malaysia, Singapore
nor Indonesia have stopped the regional illegal trade in ramin
logs, squared off logs and sawntimber. This decision will inject
the necessary legal support to achieve the protection of the
threatened areas where this tree is found."
Despite all previous attempts to block international
conservation efforts for ramin, the Malaysian government announced
in the meeting that it would support the listing and would make all
efforts to enforce regulations. This announcement follows new
evidence release by Greenpeace this week of Malaysia's involvement
in the illegal imports from Indonesia of this valuable timber
The lowland forests of Indonesia and Malaysia, where ramin trees
grow, provide the last rainforest habitat for the Orang-utan and
the Sumatran Tiger. Although both are protected by CITES, they are
facing unprecedented loss of their forest homes throughout the
region. These areas have long been targeted by illegal loggers and
criminal networks who trade the high value timber onto the
Ramin timber usually ends up in private homes as window blinds
and baby cots; and in snooker and pool halls all over the world as
cue sticks. The greatest demand comes from countries such as the
US, Italy, Japan and the UK.
"The fate of the Orang-utan and the Sumatran Tiger still hangs
in the balance. Governments involved in the international trade of
ramin timber now need to convert words into urgent action,"
continued Rey. "Greenpeace urges the governments of Indonesia,
Malaysia and Singapore to take immediate steps to combat ramin
smuggling and work with importing nations to eliminate this forest
Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses
non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental
problems and to force solutions that are essential to a green and