Vietnam Tightens Controls on Trade and Consumption of High-Risk Wildlife

WWF welcomes the new Directive No. 29, issued by the Prime Minister of Vietnam yesterday, to address crucial issues on illegal wildlife trade as part of the country’s efforts to prevent future pandemics and halt further loss of Vietnam’s declining wildlife populations.

Closing down illegal wild animal markets and high risk locales that illegally sell wild animals; planning for ivory and rhino horn stockpile destruction; stricter control and management of farmed wild animals including tiger farming; a temporary ban on the import of wild animal specimens; and reviewing and revising the legal system in relation to enforcement mechanisms for illegal consumption of wild animal specimens are some of the key highlights of the Directive. These changes, if implemented effectively, could signal a major U-turn in wildlife conservation in Vietnam.

“As countries around the world grapple with COVID-19 and the risk of other zoonotic infectious diseases, we wholly embrace the timely and decisive action by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to deliver this Directive, improving regulations on the trade and consumption of high-risk wildlife and showing leadership in managing stockpiles of seized CITES-listed species, including rhino horn and elephant ivory. WWF stands ready to support the government to implement the Directive as required, technically and financially,” said Dr. Van Ngoc Thinh, Country Director, WWF-Vietnam.

The Directive is a timely response from the Prime Minister of Viet Nam recognizing the potential threat of the next pandemic if no urgent actions are taken to address the environmental factors driving the emergence of zoonotic diseases in which the hunting, trade and consumption of high-risk wildlife is one of the biggest drivers. This signifies a step toward reducing threats to public health and the national economy, and helps secure a future for countless species threatened by high-risk wildlife trade and consumption in Vietnam and across the region.

“We must urgently recognize the links between the destruction of nature and human health, or we will soon see the next pandemic,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International. “WWF commends the series of measures taken by governments to eliminate high-risk wildlife trade and consumption. There is an urgent need for global concerted action, and the elimination of high-risk wildlife trade is an important first step towards reducing the risk of future zoonotic epidemics, protecting species and safeguarding people’s lives and well-being. There is no debate, and the science is clear; we must work with nature, not against it. Unsustainable exploitation of nature has become an enormous risk to us all.“

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