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Allies to fight wildlife crime

Update: March, 04/2015 - 08:53
Five long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) receive good care at a local farm in central Phu Yen Province under an agreement with local forest rangers. A USAID project will establish a new alliance to fight wildlife crime. — VNA/VNS Photo Ly Kha

HA NOI (VNS) — A new alliance would be formed to end wildlife crime, especially rhino horn trafficking, officials of the newly launched Operation Game Change (OGC) project announced yesterday.

OGC would be run by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Biodiversity Conservation Agency under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Apart from forging a new alliance against wildlife crime, the project would raise public awareness and spark a reduction in demand for illegal wildlife, while simultaneously improving bilateral and global ties in environmental security, officials said.

The launch marked Viet Nam's observance of the World Wildlife Day (March 3). Funded by the US State Department, OGC will complement and expand upon the USAID-funded Asia's Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) programme.

The ARREST programme works to reduce the consumption and sale of endangered species in Asia.

Besides the two main partners, OGC will also have the involvement of some NGOs, community and youth groups, and the private sector in the US and Viet Nam.

US ambassador Ted Osius said at the launching of the project that it would help create good living environment for posterity.

Reducing wildlife trafficking also involved national security, he said, explaining that wildlife trafficking was linked to terrorism and weapons trading.

Cao Duc Phat, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the Vietnamese Government and people were keenly interested in wildlife protection and had taken several actions against wildlife trafficking. He said the country needed international support to continue the fight. — VNS

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