The desk we’re writing on is made from rosewood, essentially the most trafficked wildlife product on the planet. For months, we’ve been researching the uptick in logging and poaching, that are progressively emptying out the forests right here in Cambodia in addition to neighboring Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. Rosewood trafficking is a brutal enterprise intently interwoven with drug smuggling as evidenced by a bust on the house of now-deceased drug kingpin Sathit Wiyaporn in October, the place Bangkok police discovered 160 million baht ($4.9 million) price of rosewood planks. Rangers who stand in the way in which of unlawful operations incessantly flip up murdered.
Many of the rosewood commerce is destined for China, the place it sells for as much as $100,000 per cubic meter, however lots winds up in properties throughout Southeast Asia. Or proper right here, underneath our noses, at this Western-owned restaurant in Kampot, a riverside backpacker path city standard with stoners and yoga aficionados. “Do you know this can be a protected species?” we requested, astounded. The proprietor shrugged self-consciously. “I do know, I do know,” she stated, exhaling a plume of weed smoke. “However take a look at the standard. It’s an attractive piece