On 2nd March 2020, WCS met with representatives of Customs, Police, Forestry Administration, Phnom Penh Court and Wildlife Alliance, to discuss technical support to a case of suspected lion bone trafficking. The meeting followed a seizure of >280kg big cat bones made by the Ministry of Interior’s Counter-Counterfeit Committee, Ministry of Commerce, and Phnom Penh Customs in late December, which resulted in the arrest of two Vietnamese nationals in connection with the shipment.
WCS provided a briefing to the agencies present on the status and dynamics of lion bone trade, and recommended enquiries to encourage further investigation of this case. As a result, a number of bones from the seizure were formally transferred to the Forestry Administration, and genetic analysis was conducted by TRACE/UNODC and these have been confirmed as lion bone. WCS will continue to follow the progress of this case and provide assistance to our government partners as necessary.
This work was funded by the UK Government through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, the U.S. Department of State, and by the GIZ commissioned by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.