Avid animal rights activists honoured hinh anh 1A rare Javan rhino photographed in December 2005. Photo: WWF
Seven wildlife protectors have been awarded for their dedicated contributions at a ceremony held in Hanoi on October 14.

The honour went to customs officer at Tan Son Nhat international airport Huynh Quoc Thang, forest ranger Nguyen Huu Hoa from central Thua Thien-Hue, environmental policemen Nguyen Duy Toai from northern Bac Kan province, Nguyen Trong Khoi from southern Dong Nai province and Tran Huu Hong from central Nghe An province.

Journalists Do Doan Hoang from Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper and Le Thi Hong Van from Nhan Dan (People) newspaper received the awards.

Addressing the event, Vu Thi Quyen, head of the Education for the Nature of Vietnam (ENV) , said the seven individuals represent millions of animal rights activists and their concerted effort has positively impacted on the nation’s ecological conservation.

According to Director of the Biodiversity Conservation Department Pham Anh Cuong , in recent years, law enforcers have cracked down hard on wildlife trafficking, while a growing public support towards animal protection has been noticed.

Vietnam’s diverse ecosystem has long been threatened by rampant poaching and smuggling for food, traditional medicines and fine art demand at home and abroad.

From 2014 to the end of August 2015, ENV recorded 12 illegal trading cases involving rhino horns and 34 others in ivories. In August only, 10 tonnes of these banned goods had been seized. In 2010, the last local Java rhino in Vietnam was killed for its horn.

The event was coordinated 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.-VNA