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More than 1m pangolins sold for food, medicine

Update: June, 25/2015 - 09:01
Dozens of pangolins being illegally trafficked were discovered and seized by agencies in Viet Nam. — Photo courtesy of Education Nature of Viet Nam
DA NANG (VNS)  — Viet Nam hopes to co-operate with countries and international organisations to protect endangered wildlife species, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan said at the First Pangolin Range States Meeting in Da Nang yesterday.

The meeting drew participation from 29 delegations and organisations from Africa, Asia and the US. They shared information on illegal pangolin trafficking and hunting, and discussed action plans for protecting them.

"This is a really good chance for all deputies and nations discussing the challenges and dangers that pangolins face in the region and the world," Tuan said. "Countries and organis-ations have made efforts to stop the trafficking, but it's still a problem we need to solve."

According to pangolin researchers from the International Union for Conservation (IUCN), more than a million pangolins have been illegally hunted or transported during the past decade.

"For the first time, experts are coming together from all corners of the globe in response to calls for information and action to focus on one of the world's most threatened species: the pangolin," said Claire Pierangelo, deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy. "The US is pleased to help facilitate collaboration and co-operation among pangolin range states under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) to devise solutions and make progress.

"Pangolins might not make international headlines the way more well-known animals like rhinos, elephants and tigers do, but saving them is just as important in preserving the earth's fragile ecosystem."

The fight against illegal trade also includes stopping international crime syndicates that transport humans, drugs and weapons to erode the rule of law across the globe, she said.

Viet Nam and many states in Africa and Asia have laws that prohibit capturing and trading pangolins.

In 2013, 6,200kg of frozen pangolin from Indonesia was seized at Hai Phong Port in Viet Nam, according to a CITES report.

Da Nang is seen as an ideal trans-provincial rendezvous for wildlife trafficking.

According to Education Nature of Viet Nam (ENV), pangolins are commonly consumed as specialty dishes at restaurants, soaked and served in wine, or used in traditional medicine. The organisation recommended stricter consequences for storing, keeping or processing wildlife illegally. — VNS

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