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In a revolutionary initiative, 20 of the most prominent conservation organizations worldwide have united as the Wildlife Conservation 20 (WC20), requesting immediate action from world leaders to implement rehabilitation of our natural world into COVID-19 recovery plans. As the G20 convened for their annual summit this weekend, they were met with an unprecedented call to protect biodiversity, which is perhaps the most important component of government response to COVID-19 that will significantly reduce the risk of future pandemics.
Included in the WC20 Declaration are actions such as strengthening legislation and implementing new legislation, enhancing financial and technical support of law enforcement in key wildlife trafficking nations, and raising public awareness to reduce demand and trafficking of wildlife. It is estimated that $700 billion a year invested in these efforts would reverse the decline in biodiversity by 2030, a mere fraction of the estimated $26 trillion in economic damage already caused by COVID-19.
As a pioneering Vietnamese NGO on the front line, Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) is proud to be part of this important initiative. ENV plays a major role in combating the billion-dollar illegal wildlife trade by addressing the consumption and trade of wildlife in Vietnam, a dominant hub of wildlife trafficking and demand. Currently, ENV carries out programs targeting all of the above-mentioned WC20 priorities.
“Today, the entire world struggles to contain and ultimately bring an end to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Sadly, this is not the first deadly zoonotic disease and almost certainly will not be the last,” says Vu Thi Quyen, Executive Director and Founder of Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV). “We strongly urge G20 leaders to take active measures to aggressively and proactively address high-risk areas associated with zoonotic diseases originating from wildlife, and in doing so, prevent and eliminate the next virus before it has an opportunity to become yet another global pandemic.”
Click here to read the joint press release from EndPandemics WC20 members Freeland, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), and Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV).
Seven bears from two farms in Binh Duong have safely arrived at Four Paws’ Bear Sanctuary in Ninh Binh. Today’s transfer is a result of the owners deciding to give their bears a better life outside the confines of a cage, following in the footsteps of many other ex-bear farmers across the country.
In addition to the seven bears transferred today, six bears were transferred in October 2020, and another two were transferred on November 3rd in Phu Tho province, totaling 15 bears surrendered to rescue centers since October 1, 2020.
“Over the past few years, we have witnessed many bear owners transferring their bears to sanctuaries,” says Vu Thi Quyen, Executive Director of ENV. “ENV will continue to work hard to encourage other bear owners across the country to do the same until there are no more bears caged at bear bile farms in Vietnam.”
More than 4,300 bears were discovered at bear bile farms across Vietnam in 2005. By November 2020, this number has decreased to less than 400 individuals, and 60% of Vietnam’s provinces are now bile bear-free. This progress has been possible thanks to many years of hard work from the government, law enforcement authorities, the public, and a number of NGOs in Vietnam.
The Bear Coalition in Vietnam, comprised of ENV, World Animal Protection, and Four Paws International, is calling on the provincial leaders of remaining bear bile provinces to take strong measures to expedite an end to bear bile farming in their provinces. Authorities in bear bile provinces should encourage local bear owners to turn over their bears and strictly punish those who trade or exploit bears for their bile. Aggressive action and punishment will effectively deter others from doing the same and contribute to the nation’s efforts to make Vietnam a bear bile-free country.
The Bear Coalition also calls on all bear owners across Vietnam, especially in Hanoi – the country’s biggest hotspot for bear bile farming – to follow in the footsteps of ex-bear owners who have voluntarily turned over their bears.
“The time has come for remaining bear owners to join the rest of the country in making sure this embarrassing and cruel remnant of the past is completely eliminated from Vietnam’s progressing society,” says ENV Executive Director, Vu Thi Quyen.
The illegal wildlife trade is destroying our Earth, pushing endangered species to extinction, and threatening public health on a globally deadly scale as the 4th largest black-market industry worldwide. Vietnam is a major player in the widespread trafficking of wildlife, with high demand for wildlife and as a wildlife trafficking hub. Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) is a local NGO fighting to end Vietnam’s illegal wildlife trade through education and strategic action to combat wildlife crime.
Vietnam is a significant part of the global illegal wildlife trade threatening our Earth and human health. Demand for wildlife is high in Vietnam due to traditional medicine, consumption at restaurants, the status symbol of endangered species products, and the growing illegal pet trade. Large criminal networks take advantage of this demand by illegally supplying Vietnam with tons of wildlife and their products, while also using Vietnam as a transit country for wildlife smuggling routes.
ENV tackles Vietnam’s illegal wildlife trade through education and strategic work to combat wildlife crime. Awareness campaigns reach millions across Vietnam through schools, public events, TV, radio, social media, elevator screens, airports, buses, and trains. Meanwhile, ENV’s Wildlife Crime Unit receives more than 8 new public reports of wildlife crime a day. Case Officers coordinate a response by authorities to confiscate live animals and wildlife products, and arrest and prosecute criminals.
ENV has tackled over 45,000 wildlife crime violations, contributed to a 90% decrease of bears on bile farms, and by mobilizing authorities, confiscated tons of wildlife products and rescued thousands of wild animals from the illegal trade. ENV investigations have also led to the arrest and imprisonment of 4 trafficking network leaders. ENV’s work on demand reduction and enforcement has and continues to drive the change needed to secure a better future for wildlife, both in Vietnam and globally.
Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) today presents the Outstanding Achievement Awards for Wildlife Protection to recognize the class-setting work of Vietnam’s law enforcement agencies and legal system.
Three months after the ENV – Rhinose Day mission to South Africa, journalist Doan Hoang is still active in spreading the word for rhinos, inspiring Vietnamese consumers to stop buying rhino horn.
On 20th January last week two men were arrested for trafficking three frozen macaques in Nghe An province in Central Vietnam, but they were found to be guilty of even further wildlife trade atrocities.
Yesterday, information provided by ENV resulted in the seizure of a frozen tiger from the business of a man in Bac Kan province.
Customs officials at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City have uncovered another case of elephant tusk smuggling from Africa to Vietnam.
At midnight August 11th, two tiger carcasses were discovered by police in a local restaurant in South Vietnam.
Earlier this week, we reported that 1.4 tons of pangolin scales (from as many as 10,000 animals) had been confiscated from a shipping container entering Vietnam from Sierra Leone. The increase of cases involving African species of pangolins is thought to be due to the rapidly decreasing numbers of Asian pangolins. Now, the IUCN Red List, which documents the threat levels to species around the world, has upgraded both of Vietnam’s native pangolin species from “Endangered” to “Critically Endangered”.