Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung directed to strengthen wildlife conservation due to increasingly pressure from international communities

On September 2013, TRAFFIC published a report based on consumer research study conducted on 720 chosen participants in Hanoi and Ho chi minh city named: “Rhino horn consumers, who are they?” It has significantly revealed the consumer demographic for rhino horns whom mostly are men over the age of 40 and women in their 50s. Further, only 35% of the people surveyed said they would never buy or consume rhino horns. 

On the other hand, Vietnam CITES management authority claimed that Vietnamese people have not consumed as much rhino horns as alleged on October 2013. Mr. Do Quang Tung, Deputy Director of Viet Nam CITES Management Authority said: “We do not deny that there is rhino horn consumption going on here in Vietnam but to claim that Vietnam is the main market for rhino horn is a big exaggeration.”

A Video Clip made by VTC14 channel, Vietnam stated that: "Vietnamese people have not consumed as much rhino horns as alleged by TRAFFIC"

The South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs announced the official figures that more than 1,000 rhinos have been poached in 2013 in South Africa, an equivalent of 3 rhinos a day, making it the worst year for illegally killing of rhinos within the country. So far, another 146 rhinos killed since the beginning of this year 2014. The rate of poaching incidents has not shown any sign of ceasing.

Latterly, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William and Charles have released an unusual joint video message Sunday that urged people worldwide to take a stand which end with the pair saying the phrase: “Let’s unite for wildlife!” in 5 languages including Vietnamese & Mandarin. In addition, a South Africa twitter account posted “…, please stop using rhino horns. Sincerely, South Africa!” written in Vietnamese & Mandarin as well. It seems undoubtedly that Vietnam and China have probably been internationally regarded as the primary markets for rhino horns.

Due to the increasingly pressure from the international communities relating to rhino horns trafficking, on the 21st February 2014, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has directed other Ministries and local governments to critically strengthening the implementation of monitoring the conservation of endangered wildlife as well conducting awareness raising campaigns to targeted groups of Vietnamese people living overseas and domestically.

In the end of 2014, when CITES standing committee meets again, unless Vietnam can show certain progresses, the worst things could possibly happen to Vietnam is trade sanctions. Otherwise, Vietnam should ask for a helping hand in providing training on law enforcement, running a training workshop for officials & police in detecting smugglers. But the utmost important thing should be to make the idea of consumption rhino horns socially unacceptable and it is every body’s job, according to Naomi Doak, program coordinator at TRAFFIC. 

Thuc Linh