The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is coordinating with forest rangers of Zone 4 to organise a training course on combating wildlife trafficking, in Buon Ma Thuot city, the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak.
Elephants in Dak Lak province
The course, from December 25-27, gathers forest rangers, police officers and naval forces from border provinces like Gia Lai, Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Kon Tum and Binh Phuoc.
The participants will get an insight into wildlife trafficking in not only the world and the region, but also Vietnam and Dak Lak province, along with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and other relevant documents issued by Vietnam.
They will also discuss challenges to law enforcement in localities and share experience in handling wildlife trafficking cases.
Nguyen Dao Ngoc Van, Senior Project Officer at WWF-Vietnam, said the increasing demand for wildlife products has boosted wildlife poaching and smuggling.
However, she said, wildlife traffickers have yet to receive appropriate punishment, and public awareness of this issue remains limited, pushing wild animals to face serious threats.
Van, therefore, called on the participants to take practical actions to slow down the process of extinction of wild animals and recover the ecosystem in the Central Highlands, helping the region regain its title as a paradise of wild animals in Asia.
She also urged departments and agencies in the border localities to map out countermeasures, especially during the Tet (Lunar New Year) festival in 2020.
Dak Lak is home to the largest number of wild and tame elephants in Vietnam, with five wild herds gathering about 80-100 elephants, and 45 tame elephants.
However, elephant poaching, deforestation and elephant riding tourism have challenged the conservation work in Dak Lak.
In July 2018, Animals Asia gave the Yok Don National Park in Dak Lak province 65,000 USD to support the transition of elephant-riding tourism towards elephant watching tourism from July, 2018 to July, 2023.
According to a report on wildlife violations and law enforcement in Vietnam from 2013-2017 conducted by the WCS and the Department of Criminal Justice Statistics and Information Technology at the Supreme People’s Procuracy, Vietnam recorded more than 1,500 wildlife crimes, seizing over 41,300 kg of wildlife specimens and products, from January 2013 to December 2017.
Some 1,460 people have reportedly violated regulations on wildlife protection, of whom 432 were brought to trial with criminal charges./.VNA
Nearly a decade ago, Vietnam lost its last rhino. Since then, the country has made great efforts to combat wildlife trafficking and protect biodiversity.
Vietnam remains a hot spot for wildlife hunting and trafficking despite efforts to curtail it.