Vietnam is one of the top countries in the world in regards to biodiversity richness and home to many Asian and Indochinese endemic species. However, biodiversity in Vietnam has been facing huge challenges including such direct threats as over-exploitation, loss and degradation of habitat, pollution, invasive species and global climate change. Among those threats, over-exploitation in the form of overhunting, harvesting and illegal trade has been considered to cause the most serious impact, especially on endangered species. Many species are extinct, and many others are on the brink of extinction because of the poaching and trafficking, for instance, the Javan Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus), the Giant Ibis (Pseudibis gigantea), the Kouprey (Bos sauveli), and the Southern River Terrapin (Batagur affinis), were extirpated from Vietnam. Other large mammals such as the Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), the Tiger (Panthera tigris), big cats (Felidae spp.), bears (Ursus spp.), and pangolins (Manis spp.) will soon follow in other species’ footsteps if effective conservation measures are not implemented immediately.
In addition to wildlife poaching and trafficking, illegal timber and plant trade also make a devastating effect on Vietnam’s Forest and flora. Many species of plant such as wild and rare orchid include the genus Paphiopedilum and Anoectochilus and other medicinal plants have been wiped out in most of their range. Rosewoods (Dalbergia) are also heavily logged and illegally trade that make them become the most heavily logged illegal trade timber in the Indochina region.
Having a good land, air and sea-lanes connection with other supply sources and especially the connection with the key East Asia markets made Vietnam become an regional wildlife and timber trade hubs where species such as primates, bears, pangolins, turtles, snakes, and ivory and rhino horns, seahorse, shark fins; and rare timber such as rosewood and red sandalwood are trafficked. Most of the species were collected in Vietnam, from Southeast Asia and East Africa and channeled through Vietnam to be consumed in China and in other East Asia countries. This catastrophic situation is a real warning of how illegal trade and hunting can fatally affect biodiversity. It will need a robust and long-term effort to reverse the trend demands resolute and effective conservation efforts in Vietnam to ensure that other endangered species in Vietnam will not face high extinction risks in the near future.
CCD is closely working with Vietnam and international partners to implement a cross-sectorial effort to support the Government of Vietnam and work with National Assembly, Justice Sector and Enforcement bodies to combat wildlife trafficking and forest crimes. CCD designed its approach through consultation and partnership with national and international actors to improve the legal and regulatory framework on biodiversity, forest and wildlife and strengthen law enforcement capacity and compliance. CCD also focuses on improving partnerships for information-sharing and collaboration among government and non-government actors involved in combating wildlife, forest crimes.
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