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Wild orchids in forests could disappear with continued exploitation

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The uncontrolled exploitation of wild orchids could lead to the eventual disappearance of beautiful, rare and precious species in Vietnam.

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Wild orchids are sold on streets


When traveling along Truong Son Dong Road in Gia Lai province, reporters recently met three men with sweaty faces and muddy feet walking from the forest. The men said they were from Kbang district and had traveled 60 kilometers to look for wild orchids in the forests.

One of the men told reporters that the forest was once full of beautiful orchids. “Beautiful orchids are disappearing. We wasted five hours, but could not find anything,” he said.

Tran Thi Tam from Son Lang commune, who collects wild orchids for sale, said many different orchid species grow in the forest areas in Kbang district. But some of them have disappeared, such as gia hac (Den. Superbum Reich. in Walp) and thuy tien (Narcissus tazetta L.).

“Maybe gia hac and thuy tien still exist in the forest areas belonging to Kon Tum province. You should go there to look,” she said.

Tam has been selling wild orchids for many years. In the past, she could provide hundreds of orchid vases a day, but now cannot satisfy big orders.

“People have to go very far into the forests to seek orchids. Sometimes they cannot find anything after long trips,” Tam said.

Customers now tend to be choosier about ornamental trees. Wealthy people are willing to pay more money for wild orchids, and are not satisfied with farmed orchids. 

In Pleiku City, many wild orchid markets exist, mostly located on Nguyen Tat Thanh and Hai Ba Trung roads. Orchid branches are tied together, looking like bunches of vegetables.

In Buon Ma Thuot City of Dak Lak province, ethnic minority women carry orchid branches on their backs at markets on Phan Dinh Giot, Le Duan and Phan Chu Trinh streets.

The Phan Dinh Giot-Le Duan Crossroads is the largest orchid market in Buon Ma Thuot City. Hundreds of wild orchid species are available, priced at between hundreds of thousand of dong and several million of dong per kilogram.

Environmentalists have many times raised their concern about uncontrolled exploitation. 

Pham Tuan Linh, deputy director of Yok Don National Park in Dak Lak province, confirmed that the demand for wild orchids is very high, which puts many orchid species in danger.

“The act of picking up orchid branches and interfering with the ecosystem is illegal,” Linh said.


Source: VietNamNet

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