Open Letter Calls for Stronger Wildlife Trade Enforcement in Vietnam

Demand-reduction for rhino horn is one of the many intervention strategies in the fight against rhino poaching. IRF supports demand-reduction via Education for Nature – Vietnam, Vietnam’s first non-governmental organization focused on the conservation of nature and the protection of the environment. Established in 2000, ENV combats the illegal wildlife trade and creates awareness among the Vietnamese public about the need to protect nature and wildlife.

This week, Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) has joined other wildlife organizations in Vietnam in an open letter to Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, urging an immediate response to wildlife trade and consumption amid the current coronavirus, or COV-19, outbreak.

The letter states that limiting interaction between wildlife and humans through strong enforcement against illegal wildlife trade and wildlife markets is the most effective approach to mitigating future risk associated with transmission of disease between animals and humans.

COVID-19 is a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before and, like other coronaviruses, it is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it originated from animals and later passed onto humans. The first cases of COVID-19 were identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital city of China’s Hubei Province.

ENV was joined by 13 other wildlife organizations in Vietnam in the open letter. The letter recommended the following actions:

  • Identify and close markets and other locations illegal wildlife is on sale. These establishments explicitly violate many existing laws of Vietnam.
  • Identify restaurants illegally selling wild meat and enforce bans;
  • Have compulsory requirements for all e-commerce platforms, social media, and online newspapers to sensor and remove all transactions and advertising of illegal wildlife products;
  • Develop more stringent regulations to address risks relating to raising wildlife in captivity for trade and consumption;
  • Reform judicial procedures to ensure effective punishment of wildlife crimes to act as a significant disincentive;
  • Intensify awareness-raising activities to inform the Vietnamese people of the risks of wildlife consumption to public security and to individual health; and
  • Ensure cross-ministerial collaboration to enact the above points.

The full letter can be read here.

We invite you to add your name in support of these organizations. Show your support by adding your name and country in the comment section of this post.

Javan Rhino stands in the river in Ujung Kulon National Park - Java, Indonesia
Javan rhinos used to range throughout southeast Asia, but due to poaching, now only exist in one population in Indonesia. The last Javan rhino in Vietnam was found shot with its horn removed in 2010. This Javan rhino male was photographed in Ujung Kulon National Park, Indonesia, by Alain Compost.

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