Vietnamese forces discover illegal trade of pangolins (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – The Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) has initiated a “zero tolerance” policy on illegal hunting, trading and use of pangolins – which are on the brink of extinction.

Pangolins are small mammals found mainly in S.E. Asia and often called ‘scaly anteaters’. According to the ENV, close to one million animals have been illegally hunted and traded over the past 10 years, with China and Vietnam considered the two most critical links in the transnational chain of illegal pangolin traders.

In October 2015, Chinese customs officials in Guangdong province seized 11.5 tonnes of frozen pangolins. Meanwhile, Vietnamese forces confiscated over seven tonnes of pangolin scale at several local ports in the last five months of the year.

“ It is time to take a stand ,” says Vu Thi Quyen, Executive Director of ENV. “ By declaring war on pangolin crime, we are committing ourselves to a concerted effort, in partnership with government and the public, to protect pangolins. We are fast approaching the point in time where Vietnam no longer plays a role in the illegal trade of pangolins, either as consumer or accomplice. ”

The ENV’s war declaration on pangolin crime entails four critical components.

First, the organisation is calling upon local authorities to take aggressive action to prevent pangolin crime such as the advertising or sale of pangolins and exercising a “zero tolerance” policy on any violations in the field.

Second, the ENV is launching a sustained campaign to increase public involvement through the media, social networks, and its national Wildlife Protection Network of Volunteers to report pangolin crimes.

Additionally, the organisation is calling upon law enforcement, prosecutors and courts to vigorously punish violators in the field as well as bust domestic and foreign pangolin trafficking rings.

Last but not least, the ENV is urging competent agencies to prevent the auction of pangolins under any forms.

ENV’s efforts to combat pangolin crimes were first initiated in 2005 with the establishment of the Wildlife Crime Unit.-VNA