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Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

When and how was the EIA founded?

The EIA was founded in 1984 by friends Allan Thornton, Dave Currey and Jenny Lonsdale. Initially, they organised an ambitious trip aboard a rusty trawler to document Norwegian whaling that contributed to Norway's whaling quota being cut by two thirds. A year later, Lonsdale and Thornton travelled to the Faroe Islands by camper van to investigate the pilot whale hunt. The shocking images of the carnage they gathered helped change public opinion across the world.

What does the EIA do?

The EIA pioneered the use of undercover investigation to expose environmental crimes such as the trade in endangered species and illegal logging, and is the only non-governmental organisation working to expose the illegal trade in ozone-depleting substances. Investigation teams gather evidence and alert the media, governments, local people and other organisations so that they can take action. Lobbying work is also carried out on environmental issues and to strengthen local networks to deal with issues on the ground.

Give an example of a current project

Recent investigations into the smuggling of merbau logs between Indonesia's Papua province and China resulted in the Indonesian government launching the country's largest crackdown on illegal logging, with more than 1,500 enforcement personnel involved and more than 160 suspects identified. The EIA is continuing to conduct research into the trade in merbau from Papua to other regions, including Europe, and is also planning to launch a project in West Papua to assist local communities gather visual evidence and document information and to help with advocacy.

What are some of the EIA's major achievements?

EIA campaigns have hit headlines worldwide, changed international laws and helped save many rare and endangered species. They played a vital role in securing the worldwide ban on trade in ivory; uncovered the world's largest rhino-horn poaching operation; exposed the mass killing of Dali's porpoises in Japan; helped secure an EU import ban on grizzly bear parts from British Columbia; and exposed the illegal trade in tiger parts. The EIA has also been the catalyst for the international crackdown on illegal logging in Indonesia, and is the acknowledged world expert in the smuggling of ozone-depleting substances.

The EIA is celebrating its 21st anniversary this year. To find out more about the EIA and the work being done in the field, or to sponsor an EIA investigator, visit its website:

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Title Annotation:Geographical Organisations of Note
Author:Amodeo, Christian
Geographic Code:4EXNO
Date:Dec 1, 2005
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