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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid