News / Asia

Vietnam Protests Low Ranking in Conservation Report

Fisherman Nguyen Ba Toan uses a ruler to measure a turtle, the Amyda Cartilagineus, in his house in Hanoi, October 14, 2011.
Fisherman Nguyen Ba Toan uses a ruler to measure a turtle, the Amyda Cartilagineus, in his house in Hanoi, October 14, 2011.
Marianne Brown
HANOI — Vietnamese authorities are protesting a report published last week that ranked the country among the worst of 23 nations in a wildlife crime scorecard.

Vietnam was ranked among the worst countries in combating wildlife crime related to three key species in a report by the Swiss-based conservation group the World Wildlife Fund.

The report ranked countries in Africa and Asia facing high levels of poaching and trafficking in tiger, rhinoceros and elephant parts. It scored how these countries were doing in combating wildlife trade in relation to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, known as CITES.

Preserving wild animals

The 175-nation treaty allows trade in wild animals as long as it does not threaten the survival of the species.

Vietnam received a worst-possible score for failing to protect tigers and rhinos.

WWF international wildlife trade policy analyst Colman O’Criodain said Vietnam has been identified as the top destination for rhinoceros-horn poaching, which has fueled a crisis in South Africa.

"I think it is fair to say their failure on rhinos is the most acute issue facing rhino conservation in the world at the moment.  It is driving rhino poaching in South Africa," said O’Criodain.

WWF report is critical

Vietnam did not welcome the news. Its CITES management authority said last week the WWF report was not objective. Vietnam's CITES management office director Do Quang Tung said the wildlife scorecard was too critical.

"They ignore the efforts of the law enforcement. So far, we have made significant publication of the illegal trading of wildlife to Vietnam. However the report does not recognize that. It only criticizes Vietnam," said Tung.

Tung said Vietnam has confiscated about 18 tons of ivory and is working on combating the trade in rhinoceros horn.

Rhino poaching has reached crisis point in recent years. The horn is used in Vietnam as a traditional medicine to treat ailments from hangovers to cancer, even though there is no scientific evidence to support this. According to the WWF, a record 448 South African rhinos were killed for their horns last year.

Denying licenses to hunt rhinos

A record number of Vietnamese have applied for licenses since 2008 to hunt rhinos in South Africa, where permission to hunt is given as long as the animals are not used for commercial purposes. In April, however, the South African government decided to stop issuing licenses to Vietnamese nationals because they did not receive assurance this would not happen.

Vietnam’s own native species, the Javan rhino, was declared extinct in 2011 after the last known surviving animal in Vietnam was found with a bullet in its skull.

Tung admits the government has not done enough to protect endangered species, but said that does not mean they have not done anything.

"Actually it is not enough, but we try, you know. We have mobilized all of the law enforcement, and again with the illegal trading of wildlife in general, not only rhino. We try our best, we cannot do anything more with our resources," said Tung.

Attemtping to make progress

WWF's O’Criodain points out the media portrayal of Vietnam as the “worst” in wildlife crime is a bit misleading, because the report focuses only on three species.

"There are other countries that are as bad in their own way, and in fairness to Vietnam we would note that point. The only thing is, particularly for rhinos, is that Vietnam is the most egregious country at the moment because they really are the main destination for the horn that is being poached in Southern Africa," said O’Criodain.

While some conservationists in Vietnam say there is no political will in the country to tackle conservation issues, others argue the only way to protect wildlife is to work with authorities.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Susan V from: NC
July 31, 2012 11:20 PM
The killing of rhinos I understand has not been curtailed since this petition was first written.

In Response

by: Nicholas from: Ontario, CA
August 07, 2012 11:40 AM
Susan V, you are correct.

Vietnam is richly deserving of this ranking.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid