To the Paphiopedilums' fan,
the dearest wishes about CITES

  In Japan, it has passed 20 years after ratifying Washington Treat in 1980. After that, we have some trouble including Paph. delenatii trading illegally. And almost of all Paph. fans in Japan were worried about it. After the mater of Paph. delenatii, the news of trading illegally was not so often, but we were going to hear again in these days again. In AOS, they presented the statements about it in this spring, 2001 and appeal to keep the rules. In Japan, we hard about an ugly rumor about the trading illegally recently. We love orchids including Paphiopedilums and enjoy them by ourselves or with orchids' friends. It is no good to hear the ugly rumor or to be rolled in it. As one of fan and friends on Paphiopedilum, please take action a person with a lot of good sense. I ask you from the bottom of my heart.
 The following column has been prepared by myself for New Orchids, orchid magazine in Japan, NO. 101, 2001. And it was translated by Miss Yoko Otsuki and was supervised by Dr. Mark Griffiths. They are the best of my friends in England. Thank you Yoko and Mark. AOS statements will be followed after my column.

Paphiopedilum and
the Washington Treaty (CITES)
-An ideal opportunity for popularising Paphiopedilum
by propagation-

by Toshinori Tanaka

Paphiopedilum is currently enjoying an astonishing surge in popularity so much so that even complete novices to orchid growing often begin by plunging straight into the world of slipper orchids. But what exactly is at the root of this boom?

First, there is the renewal of interest in species and in hybrids that are close to species in terms of their ancestry and appearance. This phenomenon first became noticeable in the United States in the late 1960s, and in Japan in the mid 1970s. Our attention was drawn back to the rich variety of species and to hybrids that retain their idiosyncratic and natural charms ミ the primary and novelty Paphiopedilum crosses. Complex hybrids, for so long considered to be the ideal of Paphiopedilum beauty, were challenged by a new generation of plants that made them look cosmetic and overly uniform.

Then, around 1980, came reports of two new and strikingly distinctive species, Paphiopedilum armeniacum and P. micranthum, from Southern China. Their advent not only added to the list of species of Paphiopedilum, it brought a novel dimension to the genus ミ one which breeders were eager to harness in creating hybrids that exhibited the new speciesユ inflated lips and soft pink and yellow tones.

In November 1980, however, all commercial trade in Paphiopedilum species was banned, except in the case of certain plants that could be proved to have been raised in cultivation (and then from parents that were themselves ヤlegalユ). While new species have been discovered since 1980, we may neither grow nor hybridise them under the present regulations. The Washington Treaty was, of course, a timely and well-intentioned measure to protect species in the wild from the depredations of collectors. But it was also a grave setback for orchid lovers; and sometimes for the orchids too ミ how my heart ached when I saw a pile of contraband collected plants that had been impounded and abandoned and for which I could, legally, do nothing. I resolved at that moment to take steps to avoid such pointless waste in future: it benefits neither the plants nor the plant lovers. It also exposes a serious flaw in the operation of a treaty which, for all its severity, seems powerless to stem the illegal trade in Paphiopedilum species. Sadly, scandalous tales of illegitimate orchid trafficking also serve to blacken the name of the bona fide slipper orchid boom.
Now, let us think calmly about this issue. In its aims and spirit, the Washington Treaty is not against the interests of responsible orchid growers who are for the most part dedicated to the continued survival of the plants they love both in habitat and in cultivation. On the contrary, the two - the Treaty and the orchid growers - should be able to coexist. The new Paphiopedilum boom is quite unlike the craze inspired by the first Paphiopedilum species that were introduced to Europe and hybridised. We breeders and growers look to species not to find some feature or other to throw into an unrecognisably complex and cosmetic hybrid. We are looking to species to find and draw out their own unique qualities. This means, of course, that we may disregard poor or mediocre plants; but we do seek especially excellent species and outstanding individuals from their ranks. We can say with certainty that recent crosses between species of true merit have produced far better results than hybrids made between merely average plants in the past; likewise that crosses between especially fine examples of those species yield better offspring.

While the revival of interest in species and the fascination exerted by new discoveries both look like powerful ミ if discreditable - incentives for taking plants from the wild, it is happily the case that we no longer need to plunder Nature. As anyone who has seen numerous wild-collected specimens will confirm, outstanding individuals are rare in the field. Now that superb clones can be selected and artificially propagated in quantity, it is not only inefficient, it is also an absolute waste of time to engage in wholesale collecting of wild plants. This activity not only endangers the plants themselves, it also tends to yield material whose horticultural potential is low in any case.

We should, rather, take advantage of the Washington Treaty by seeing it as an opportunity to promote the artificial propagation of the finest examples of species, and as a spur to use these species in producing hybrids of excellence. In satisfying both demand and curiosity, these two endeavours should do as much to curtail illegal trade as any outright ban. In return, we orchid breeders may well be able to reintroduce artificially propagated examples of endangered species to the habitats from which their progenitors were originally taken.

It is forbidden by law to obtain a plant of a new Paphiopedilum species. It is a law we must respect while hoping that a version of the Treaty will one day emerge that conserves the plants in nature and gives horticulturists a chance to increase and develop them. No matter how patiently we wait for such changes in the law, the fact remains that Paphiopedilum lovers all over the world do crave new species. Surely the most immediate solution to this problem of demand is to create an official market in species? Within this market, species would be increased and released for sale by legally authorised institutions in their countries of origin. These institutions would only offer plants that have been propagated from selected wild individuals. I believe that day will come soon.

To enjoy a Paphiopedilum is not necessarily to own or to hunt down a rare or remarkable specimen. For me the real thrill is equally in aiming to produce a new hybrid on the basis of logical planning and experience; above all, the thrill lies in sharing my pleasure with other Paphiopedilum lovers. Let us enjoy Paphiopedilum calmly and intellectually, without being overly influenced by passing fads, debate and hearsay. I for one look forward to being able to admire the fruits of my own Paphiopedilum breeding some far-off day.

From Fish and Wildlife
Contacts FWS: (703) 358-1949

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Special agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have arrested six persons charged with crimes related to the illegal importation of internationally protected cycads. Cycads, which resemble palms or tree ferns, are a small group of primitive-looking plants whose ancestors date back more than 200 million years. Certain species face threats in the wild from habitat loss and over-collection.
Cycads are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species(CITES) - a treaty through which the United States and more than 150 other countries regulate global commerce in imperiled animals and plants. Many of the smuggled cycad species are listed on Appendix I of the treaty and generally cannot be commercially traded. Any international movement requires permits from both the exporting and importing countries. The smuggled plants also include some Appendix II species, which require permits from the country of origin certifying that trade represents no threat to the survival of wild populations.
Peter H. Heibloem, 47, of Queensland, Australia, and Ernest J. Bouwer, 56, of Sandton, South Africa, arrested on Friday, July 20, are charged with 15 counts of conspiracy, smuggling, and making false statements in an indictment unsealed that day in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. According to the indictment, Heibloem, Bouwer, and three others charged - John H. Baker of Gauteng, South Africa, Ian S. Turner of Harare, Zimbabwe, and Rolf Kyburz, of Queensland, Australia - sent approximately $542,000 worth of protected cycads to the United States from South Africa, Australia, and Zimbabwe. The indictment alleges that the men used invalid CITES permits for the shipments and falsely labeled many of the plants shipped to cover up the lack of a valid permit. Baker, Turner, and Kyburz remain at large outside the United States. Also charged in the indictment and arrested on Friday, July 20,is Donald Joseph Wiener, 64, of Mexico. He is alleged to have knowingly purchased approximately $200,000 worth of these plants from Heibloem. Rolf D. Bauer, 44, of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Jan Van Vuuren, 54, of Centurion,South Africa, also arrested on Friday, re charged with conspiracy, smuggling, and making false statements in a separate 29-count indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. According to the indictment, these two men sent more than $300,000 worth of protected cycads to the United States from South Africa. They allegedly used invalid CITES permits for the commercial shipments and falsely labeled many of the plants to cover up the lack of a valid permit. Jose "Pepe" Portilla, 34, of Ecuador, was also arrested on Friday, July 20. Charged with smuggling in a one-count complaint in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Portilla allegedly sent 10 protected cycads into the United States.
The Service investigation also resulted in charges against three individuals accused of trafficking in protected orchids. Antonius Juniarto of Surabaya, Indonesia, and Iwan Kolopaking of Jakarta, Indonesia, have been indicted in the Northern District of California on 21 counts of conspiracy, smuggling, and false statements related to the shipment of CITES Appendix I orchids into the United States from Indonesia. Both remain at large. According to the indictment, the two men sent multiple packages of orchids through the mail with customs declarations falsely identifying the contents as toys. A separate indictment in the Northern District of California charges Terence Leung of Hong Kong with four counts of smuggling related to shipments of CITES Appendix II orchids from Hong Kong into the United States. Leung also remains at large. The maximum penalty for each of the charges against these men is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. An indictment contains allegations against an individual, and all defendants must be presumed innocent of the charges against them unless they are convicted. The federal probe into the international trade in protected species of cycads and orchids was conducted by special agents from the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service with assistance from the Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Office of Inspector General, as well as the Endangered Species Protection Unit of the South African Police, Australian Customs, and Environment Australia. The cases are being prosecuted by the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 4-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

- FWS -

Toshinori Tanaka , The reporter takes full responsibility for the wording and content of this article.