Fourteen youth were awarded prizes of a drawing competition on anti-wildlife product consumption at a ceremony held in Hanoi on July 22.

Eleven-year-old Nguyen Thi Tuyet Nhi from Ben Tre and 17-year-old Vo Thi Thao Hien from Quang Ngai took first prize, while Vu Cam Tu aged 12, Nguyen Xuan Phuong aged 13 and Tran Phu Cuong aged 21 came second.

The competition was launched in November 2014 by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Freeland Foundation and the ENV as part of a USAID-funded programme to combat wildlife trafficking in Asia.

The competition received more than 155,000 entries from 1,983 schools and art clubs across the country. It was organised with the aim to encourage locals not to consume products from wild animals such as rhino horns, tiger bones and bear bile.

Douglas O’Neill, Head of the Environmental Department of the US Embassy in Vietnam, said the massive number of entries reflects huge public concern for the issue, which the US Embassy is closely working with the Vietnamese Government and non-governmental organisations to curb.

Bui Thi Ha, Vice Director of Education for the Nature of Vietnam (ENV) and member of the judging panel shared that apart from the 14 winning pictures, other outstanding art creations will also be utilised in the form of communications publications.

Wildlife trafficking and illegal poaching has long threatened the ecosystem in Vietnam. The last local rhino was killed for its horn in 2010 and only about 30 tigers are currently living in the wild.

The Vietnamese people have played a greater role in the fight against wildlife crime. The ENV has recorded 8,500 violations since 2005, 42 percent of which were discovered and reported by locals through the hotline 1800 1522.-VNA