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Wildlife trafficking cases continue to increase in Vietnam

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Despite the existence of laws on wildlife trafficking and consumption, more cases of trafficking have been reported.

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In Asia, because of cultural traditions and consumption habits, the demand for wildlife is very high. Wild animal meat can be used to make oriental medicine, nutritious food, jewelries, and decorative or luxury items (TRAFFIC Southeast Asia 2003).

According to UNDOC (UN Office on Drugs and Crime), wildlife trafficking also has links with European and American markets. 

In 1998-2007, about 35 million animals classified in the appendix of CITES were from East Asian countries. Of these, 30 million were from the wild, and only 4.5 million were raised (Nijman V., 2010).

The species illegally traded were elephants (18 percent), reptiles (9 percent), pangolin, rhino, sea turtle (3 percent for each), and fresh water turtles (2 percent). However, the figures were only 20-30 percent of total number of wildlife animals trafficked in reality (UN DOC 2016).

According to WWF, Vietnam has become a wildlife trafficking hotspot. SurveyS found that the demand is highest in Hanoi and HCMC. Other provinces such as Quang Tri, Thua Thien-Hue, Qung Nam, Ha Tinh, Nghe An, Gia Lai and Kon Tum are localities where wild animals are hunted. 

Highway No 1A serves the transportation of most wildlife animals, according to researchers.

The police’s recent reports shows that not only domestic sourced wildlife, but foreign sourced animals are also trafficked. 

Vietnam’s position neighboring Laos, Cambodia and China with many border gates and seaports along the 3,260 kilometer coast makes it an important link in the regional wildlife trafficking ring.

Some animal species are believed to be nearly extinct in the wild, such as Hoan Kiem turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) with only two existing. 

Meanwhile, Mauremys annamensis, Cuora zhoui, Pseudoryx nghetinhensis are rarely seen and it is still unclear about the number in the wild (IUCN 2018).

The other species have limited numbers. These include Nomascus concolor (60 individuals), Trachypithecus poliocephalus (70), Nomascus nasutus (130), Trachypithecusdelacouri and Rhinopithecus avunculus (200 for each). 

It is estimated that 104-134 Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) now live in the wild, according to the Special-use and Protective Forest Management Department.

Meanwhile, tigers (Panthera tigris), cats (Felidae spp.), bears (Ursus spp.) and pangolins (Manis spp.) will die out if stricter regulations and enforcement does not occur.

According to the Supreme People's Court, from October 1, 2015 to the end of September 2017), the Court handled 231 cases related to wildlife trafficking.


Source: VietNamNet

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