Rhino horns are seized in Bangkok, Thailand (Source: VNA)

The customs sector called for joint efforts from other bodies and international and domestic experts to combat wildlife trafficking in Vietnam during a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on September 17.

The event was co-organised by the General Department of Vietnam Customs and the Project of “State management for a comprehensive development” of the United States Agency for International Development Governance for Inclusive Growth Programme (USAID GIG).

The trafficking of w ildlife in to Vietnam has recently become more complicated than before, occurring concurrently on road and by sea and air , according to the Department , which cited the detection of four cases with seized items including 3,797 kg of ivory in August, 2015, alone.

Deputy Director of the Vietnam CITES Management Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Vuong Tien Manh said Vietnam is used as one of the wildlife trading and transporting routes from Africa and other Southeast Asian nations to consumption markets.

Manh highlighted difficulties facing the law enforcement force in the combat, naming expertise, language skills, lack of information, and specimen management.

Nguyen Ngoc Tuan – Deputy Director of the anti-smuggling D epartment of the General Department of Vietnam Customs said USAID GIG has assisted the customs sector in establishing effective coordination with other forces in wildlife control.

He stressed the importance of collaborating local and foreign organisations in fighting wildlife trade in the country, and promoting c ommunication campaigns to raise people’s awareness of not using wildlife- sourced products.

Import of e lephant tusks and rhino horns is banned in Vietnam as elephant and rhino are subjected to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) .

On the black market, rhino horn is priced at 133 USD per gramme while African elephant tusk costs up to 2,100 USD per kg.

In the first six months this year, customs officers uncovered four cases of illegal transport of rhino horns.

Since 2008, Vietnamese customs officers have detected 23 cases of rhino horns smuggling, confiscating nearly 140 kilogrammes of rhino horns.

The CITES is an international agreement between 181 governments that aims to monitor the international trade of specimens to ensure the survival of animals and plants in the wild.-VNA