News / Asia

    New TV Campaign Aims to Save Vietnam's Wild Tigers

    FILE - Two-month-old Indochinese tiger cubs play with their mother inside their cage at the Hanoi Zoo, March 2007.
    FILE - Two-month-old Indochinese tiger cubs play with their mother inside their cage at the Hanoi Zoo, March 2007.
    Marianne Brown
    Conservationists in Vietnam have launched a new public service announcement aimed at tackling the use of tiger paste as an impressive gift. While the move has been widely welcomed, some say it is already too late for the country’s last wild tigers.

    “Using tiger bone paste won’t impress anyone, don’t embarrass yourself” - is the message of a new public service announcement released by Vietnamese conservation group Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) this week.

    The announcement - to be broadcast on national television - depicts a new corporate board member giving his colleagues gifts of tiger bone paste during a meeting, which they leave on the table in disgust.


    "In Vietnam we use tiger bone glue as a kind of gift to give people you want to impress as a form of status symbol.  Approaching television stations is a good way to spread the message to the largest number of people," explained ENV spokeswoman Le Mai Hanh.

    Tiger bone paste - a traditional medicine - is made by boiling the bones until they form a glue-like substance. It is used to treat joint problems and is believed to improve sexual performance. The paste can be sold for up to $1500 per 100 grams. Tiger parts are also used to make tiger wine, and are sold as decorations.

    ENV has tackled consumption of wildlife products before, but this is one of the first to single out tiger products. The consumption of rare wildlife is rampant in the country. It is known as a destination country for rhino horn, used as a hangover cure. The country’s last rhino was declared extinct in 2011.

    Dr. Nguyen Xuan Huong, former chairman of the Vietnam Traditional Medicine Association, welcomed ENV’s strategy. He said there is no evidence to prove that tiger bone paste is an effective medicine. But people still buy it as a form of status symbol.

    He says the consumption of tiger bone medicine has been increasing over the last few years, but he believes much of it is fake.

    ENV says there could be as few as 30 tigers left in the wild. But Dr. Naomi Doak, Greater Mekong Program Coordinator for the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, says the situation could be even worse.

    "Largely, even if there were that many, they are scattered over such an area and a lot of them are in border areas so they are kind of cross between Laos and Vietnam or Cambodia and Vietnam for example. I think we kind of broadly accept that ecologically, tigers are extinct in Vietnam. That means the populations are not in a position to sustain themselves," said Doak.

    Farming tigers for commercial purposes is illegal in Vietnam, but a number are allowed to operate as conservation facilities. But Doak says none of the animals bred there are released back into the wild, thus, the reasons for keeping the animals are dubious.

    "There’s no real reason at the moment for those facilities to produce cubs other than those cubs will remain in captivity for the rest of their life because there’s no habitat to reintroduce them to and tigers have never been, at the moment, successfully reintroduced from captive facilities where they’ve been bred into the wild. The conservation value at some level has to be questioned," said Doak.

    Trading in tigers from captive facilities sustains demand for tiger products, she says. Wild tigers are also targeted because feeding and taking care of captive tigers is very expensive.

    Doak says sending a direct message to consumers is a good strategy. At the same time, if Vietnam wants to save one of its most iconic species, the government needs to do more to monitor and regulate tigers kept in captivity.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Richard from: Canada
    February 22, 2014 9:48 PM
    Is the excuse ignorance or arrogance? This gluttony gives East Asian countries like Vietnam a terrible reputation.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.