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Wildlife trafficking increases in Vietnam as demand continues to rise

Vietnam is among 16 countries with a high level of biodiversity and is also among the biggest hot spots for wildlife trafficking.

At an international conference on fighting wild animal and plant trafficking in London in 2018, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (MARD) issued a message on the urgency of dealing with organized wildlife trade crimes, and the need for cooperation between private and public sectors, non-governmental organizations and research institutions to close illegal wildlife trade markets.




Wildlife in danger

According ENV (Education of Nature Vietnam), in Vietnam, rhinos have become extinct, and there are no more than five tigers and 100 elephants in the wild, and 16 out of 25 primate species are endangered in the country.

Hundreds of bears are being kept in captivity for gall and many other rare and precious wild animal species are threatened by illegal trafficking.

The trafficking is getting more serious because the demand for wildlife is increasing. People use wild animals to process food in restaurants, prepare medicine to treat diseases, display as ornaments, or make handicrafts.

The trafficking is getting more serious because the demand for wildlife is increasing. People use wild animals to process food in restaurants, prepare medicine to treat diseases, display as ornaments, or make handicrafts.

According to the International Nature Conservation Organization, Vietnam had a high number of sea turtles in the 1980s. It was estimated that tens of thousands of Vich turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) laid eggs each year.

In recent years, only 200-300 Vich turtles laid eggs on Con Dao Island, while the figure was just 10-20 in other localities such as Quang Ninh, Quang Tri, Binh Dinh and Ninh Thuan.

ENV reported that of five sea turtle species, the tortoise has been the most seriously affected. They play an important role in the ecosystem as they eat sponges and keep coral reefs healthy, but the number decreased by 80 percent only last century. They are hunted for shells which can be used to make handicrafts, jewelry and combs.

As for rhino horn, the demand is high because it is thought to be a panacea which can treat all kinds of diseases. However, according to Vu Thi Quyen from ENV, there is no scientific proof for this.

The high demand in Vietnam not only led to the extinction of rhinos in Vietnam, but also lent a hand to the destruction of rhinos in Africa. A report found that 56 percent of Asians arrested in the cases related to rhino crimes in South Africa were Vietnamese.

According to the Vietnam Wildlife Conservation Association, from January 2013 to December 2017, Vietnam found 1,504 violations, while 432 defendants were tried as criminals.

Most recently, in October 2018, about 10 tons of elephant ivory and pangolin scales from Nigeria were found docked at Tien Sa Port in Da Nang City.

Chi Mai 

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Slow progress in fight against illegal wildlife trade

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