International runners “run wild” across Vietnam to curb wildlife trade | WWF
International runners “run wild” across Vietnam to curb wildlife trade

Posted on 13 December 2005

An international team of cross-country runners have embarked upon a relay along the length of Vietnam in the 2005 Trans-Vietnam Run 2005. Throughout the race runner will help WWF raise awareness about the illegal trade and consumption of wildlife in Vietnam by carrying a banner that reads: “Run wild, run free.”
Hanoi, Vietnam – An international team of cross-country runners have embarked upon a relay along the length of Vietnam in the 2005 Trans-Vietnam Run 2005. Throughout the race runners will help WWF raise awareness about the illegal trade and consumption of wildlife in Vietnam by carrying a banner that reads: “Run wild, run free.”

The six-member relay team — consisting of runners from England, France, Iraq, Poland, and South Africa — will run day and night, without interruption, from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, a distance of approximately 1,750km. The objective of the Trans-Vietnam race is to promote a healthy lifestyle through sport and general physical exercise, as well as to promote the beauty of Vietnam.

“It's obviously a great sporting challenge for us, but at the same time we would like to promote a good cause,” said Rene Croisier, the Trans-Vietnam Run 2005 organizer and one of the runners. “We decided to choose WWF as a partner as we know that they are doing a great job building environmental awareness in Vietnam.”

Each year, hundreds of millions of plants and animals are caught or harvested from the wild in order to be sold as food, pets, ornamental plants, leather, tourist curios, or medicine. Throughout the Greater Mekong subregion — composed of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, and southern China — overexploitation of wildlife is widely considered one of the greatest threats to many species.

“Many Vietnamese people believe that consuming wildlife products promotes good physical health, often paying exorbitant prices for products and meats derived from endangered species,” said Hong Hoang Minh, Communications Manager with the WWF Greater Mekong Programme Office. “The illegal trade of endangered species has proven to be one of the most urgent and devastating environmental issues facing the country’s biodiversity.”

It is estimated that 3,700–4,500 tonnes of wildlife products (excluding birds and insects) are traded and consumed every year in Vietnam.

Earlier this year, TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, and WWF, jointly launched a two-year project to battle illegal wildlife trade and consumption in Hanoi through media and education awareness-raising activities to change consumer attitudes towards wildlife.

“The help that the runners offer, in making an appeal against illegal wildlife trade and consumption in Vietnam, will contribute to the success of the project,” Hong added.

The Trans-Vietnam Run is scheduled to finish in Ho Chi Minh City, on 22 December.

For further information:
Hoang Thi Minh Hong, Communications Manager
WWF Greater Mekong Programme
Tel: +84 4736 6375 ext. 126
Email: hong@wwfvn.org.vn
Tiger skins and other rare cats are openly displayed for sale in Cholon District, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
© WWF / Adam Oswell
A relay team competing in the Trans-Vietnam Run will help WWF raise awareness about the illegal wildlife trade.
© WWF Greater Mekong