Combatting illegal wildlife consumption in Vietnam | WWF
Combatting illegal wildlife consumption in Vietnam

Posted on 07 April 2006

A high school writing contest in Vietnam hopes to raise awareness about the country's illegal wildlife trade and consumption.
Hanoi, Vietnam – The rampant trade of wildlife in Vietnam has pushed many animal and plant species dangerously close to extinction, threatening not only the species and natural resources of the country and its neighbours, but Vietnamese livelihoods as well.

To combat the wildlife trade, WWF and TRAFFIC are organizing a variety of campaign activities aimed at increasing consumer awareness on the issue, including a writing contest for high school students.

All high school students in Hanoi, the capital, are eligible to enter the contest, which asks students to write a two-paragraph proposal for a 30-second public service announcement revolving around WWF’s anti-illegal wildlife consumption slogan: Don’t trade the natural world for human demands.

“The current levels of overexploitation for both legal and illegal wildlife trade are widely considered to be the single greatest threat to many species, over and above habitat loss and degradation,” said Eric Coull of WWF’s Great Mekong Programme.

“Nowhere is this more evident than in Vietnam, where wildlife populations are dwindling at an alarming rate due to illegal trade and consumption. With this writing contest and other initiatives, we have accepted the responsibility of increasing awareness and education.”

Within Southeast Asia, Vietnam plays an important role in the illegal wildlife trade. With its abundant of natural wealth, it supplies international markets, particularly China, with a variety of plants and animals. Through an increasingly wealthy urban population, it consumes both locally and internationally sourced wild animals and plants. And, with its well-established trading ties with China, it acts as an integral trade conduit of its neighbours’ wildlife.

With nearly half of all Hanoi residents surveyed having personally used wildlife products, the need for an increased local awareness is both immense and extremely urgent.

“In order to protect Vietnam’s incredible biodiversity and natural heritage, we must involve people of all age groups, particularly the youth of Vietnam,” said Hoang Thi Minh Hong, WWF’s Greater Mekong Programme’s communications manager.

“Young people deserve to have a loud voice on this issue, and we want to ensure that they are heard.”

The three most original ideas for the high school writing contest will be chosen by a panel of judges on 5 June 2006. The winners will each attend a film production training course and receive a camcorder from Canon, one of WWF’s global partners. Another WWF global partner, HSBC, is also supporting the writing contest as well as other environmental projects in Vietnam.

The writing contest, however, is only one component of WWF’s larger anti-illegal wildlife campaign — A Matter of Attitude: Reducing the Consumption of Wildlife Products in Hanoi, Vietnam. Other activities include providing the Hanoi Forest Protection Department with equipment for establishing a wildlife hotline, planning a print advertising campaign designed by Saatchi & Saatchi, and appointing renowned Vietnamese scientist, Dr Nguyen Lan Dung, as the celebrity spokesperson for the campaign.


• Support for the anti-illegal wildlife consumption campaign is being provided by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).

• HE Peter Lysholt Hansen, Danish Ambassador to Vietnam; Eric Coull, WWF Greater Mekong Representative; and Sulma Warne, TRAFFIC Indochina’s Programme Coordinator, presided over the event which was held at the Hanoi Press Club. Nguyen Van Cuong, Vice Director of Vietnam’s National Forest Protection Department, and representatives from the Vietnam National Union of Students also attended the event.

• TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is a joint programme of WWF, the global conservation organization and IUCN – The World Conservation Union.

For further information:
Hoang Thi Minh Hong, Communications Manager
WWF Greater Mekong Programme
Tel: +84 4736 6375
Seahorses are one of many species sold as souvenirs for tourists in Vietnam.
Seahorses are one of many species sold as souvenirs for tourists in Vietnam.
© WWF / Meg Gawler