Vietnam and neighbouring countries should shut down illegal wildlife markets and step up their fight against the trafficking of rhino horn, ivory and tiger parts, international conservationists said on Thursday, Reuters reports.
The call was made during a conference on illegal wildlife trade hosted by Hanoi, with Britain's Prince William, President of United for Wildlife, and representatives from over 50 countries among the attendants.
Last Saturday Vietnam destroyed nearly 2.2 tonnes of seized elephant ivory and 70 kg of rhino horns from 23 rhinos and about 330 African elephants, in one of its strongest moves yet to stop illegal wildlife trafficking.
Countries in the Greater Mekong region including Vietnam have failed to close their illegal wildlife markets, while Hanoi has also made little effort to target major traders and smugglers of illicit wildlife products, WWF and Traffic said in a joint statement.
"Vietnam can no longer turn a blind eye to wildlife crime because the world is watching: the government must use this conference to signal a new start by announcing concrete plans to end the rhino horn and ivory trade and close all tiger farms," WWF Vietnam Country Director Thinh Van Ngoc said.
He urged Vietnam to launch a concerted campaign against wildlife crime, saying Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand should follow suit.