Destruction of elephant ivory and rhino horns confiscated from illegal trade and trafficking in Vietnam

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On November 12, 2016, in Soc Son District, Hanoi City, the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development collaborated with relevant ministries to destroy wildlife specimens seized from illegal traders and traffickers.
Since joining the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1994, Vietnam has made efforts, in concert with the international community, to responsibly implement the Convention. In addition to improving policies and legislation in management of wildlife trafficking, Vietnamese authorities have detected, investigated and seized dozens of tons of ivory, and hundreds of kilograms of rhino horn and other specimens including tiger bone, pangolin scales, and freshwater turtles. Vietnam’s efforts in fighting illegal wildlife trade have been highly appreciated by the global community, raising Vietnam’s position in the field in the international arena.
To implement a directive by the Prime Minister, the National Specimen Destruction Council destroyed more than two tons of ivory, seventy kilograms of rhino horn, and specimens of bear bone and tiger bone by crushing and burning, as appropriate. In compliance with CITES’s regulations, the Destruction Council conducted the sampling of ivory and rhino horn DNA in the witness of representatives of state agencies, local embassies, international organizations and national and international news agencies.
The destruction of confiscated ivory, rhino horn, tiger bone and bear bone conveys Vietnam’s strong message in combating illegal wildlife trade and zero tolerance for the consumption of wildlife products with illegal origin.
“Destruction of ivory and rhino horn is the most serious applied to these illegally traded wildlife specimens, and shows Vietnam’s determination to join hands with the international community to prevent and push back on the illegal trade of ivory, rhino horn and other wildlife products. There is also a message in propaganda campaigns to raise the public awareness of not consuming the wildlife products with illegal origin”, said Ha Cong Tuan, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“The destruction of confiscated ivory and rhino horn in Vietnam is performed only one month after the game-changing CITES CoP17 and right before the Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade. It serves to raise local, national and global awareness of the negative impacts of illegal trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn. The event also shows the strong determination of Vietnam in particular and the commitment of the global community in general to put an end to this serious problem. The international community appreciates the tough decisions in CITES COP17 Conference. And it’s time for us to take actions and implement those decisions”, commented Mr. John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General to the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
During the event, Mr. Giles Lever, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Vietnam emphasized that “The UK highly appreciates the first destruction of illegal products confiscated from illegal wildlife trade. Along with recent seizures of smuggled ivory, this event is the positive sign showing Vietnam’s commitment in fighting against illegal wildlife trade. We hope that the event today is the good initial step for further movements in inventory, analysis and destruction of currently stored products from illegal wildlife trafficking”.
“We are delighted to support Vietnam in the first destruction of ivory, rhino horn seized from illegal trade and we hope that the event will enable the community to be more aware of the urgency in wildlife conservation. The global community need join hands to help the world to appreciate the elephants and rhinos instead of putting the value on their horns and ivories”, stated Teresa Telecky, Ph.D., Director of Wildlife Department at Humane Society International Organization.
Vietnam’s destruction of elephant ivory and rhino horn was carried out in advance of the Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade which took place on November 17-18, 2016. The Conference shows the political determination of Vietnam as the host country in responsibly fulfilling international commitments to which Vietnam is a member./.