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VN, S Africa join forces to stop rhino trade

Update: December, 11/2012 - 10:05

HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam and South Africa have built a joint action plan to combat rhino horn smuggling.

The move was part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on biodiversity management, conservation and protection signed between the two countries yesterday in Ha Noi.

The MoU aims to promote co-operation between the two countries in biodiversity management, conservation and protection on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

South Africa's agencies are eager to receive support from their Vietnamese counterparts to prevent rhino horn smuggling, South Africa's Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa said at the ceremony.

Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat said that Viet Nam has always worked hard to implement policies on biodiversity conservation.

"The ministry is currently working with relevant agencies to implement a ban on importing rhino parts into Viet Nam," he said.

This policy, once it has been approved by the Prime Minister, will likely go into effect by the end of the year.

Phat also said that authorised agencies in Viet Nam have seized 12 rhino horn smugglers since 2004. Meanwhile, statistics from South Africa show that about 448 rhinos were illegally hunted in 2011.

This number is projected to reach 600 by the end of this year.

South Africa's government had prohibited the legal hunting of rhino as a sport since February due to concern about rampant illegal smuggling. — VNS

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