Vietnamese officials announced today that the country could be the latest to destroy its remaining stockpiles of illegal wildlife products, including rhino horn, elephant ivory and tiger bone. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, Vietnam's plan to destroy its stockpile mark a major step in the country's fight against the illegal wildlife trade:
In Vietnam, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued a top-level directive earlier this month to all key line ministries prioritizing enforcement at all levels and across ministries to combat poaching and trafficking of African elephant ivory and rhino horn. However, among the different parties and Vietnam itself there has been no coordination for more aligned efforts.
"We welcome this enhanced collaboration between the Government of Vietnam and the Governments of United States, United Kingdom, Germany, the European Union, the Asian Development Bank and the UNODC to tackle the insidious threat of wildlife trafficking," said Susan Lieberman, executive director of conservation policy for WCS. "If this decision is turned into action, it will set a high standard for other governments, and reinforce Vietnam's commitment to treating wildlife crime as serious crime."
A number of other countries have moved to destroy their remaining stores of illegal wildlife products, indicating a global trend opposing the wildlife trade. The U.S., France, China and Chad all destroyed massive portions of their stockpiles within the past several months, while Hong Kong, Belgium and the U.K. have also pledged to take similar steps this year.