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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs