Conservationists hope management offices move on elephant conservation hinh anh 1Ivory products and related items can be found for sale as souvenirs right in front of the office of the Gia Lai provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. (Photo: VietnamPlus)
Hanoi (VNA) – Facing the current serious situation involving the smuggle of ivory products and others related to elephants in the Central Highlands as well as other localities, experts hold that it is high time now for management offices to get involved in the fight against the evil and work out timely inspection and punishments.

Right after the VietnamPlus electronic newspaper published a series of stories on the situation, representatives of natural conservation offices called on the management offices to immediately join the fight to help protect and conserve elephants for the future generations.

In a letter to the VietnamPlus, a representative of the World Wildlife Fund Vietnam (WWF-Vietnam) expressed the hope that the series of the stories on the illegal trade of ivory products would provide key insights to the problem and authorities would take timely action against the trade.

The severity of the trade means market management offices will not be able to turn a blind eye to the situation, but will take immediate action to direct local authorities to conduct raids and deal with the wrongdoings in line with the existing provisions, the WWF-Vietnam representative wrote.

The official also stressed that as for the localities where the organisation operates in, including the project on the conservation of the wild elephant communities in Dak Lak province, the WWF-Vietnam will provide support and cooperation for authorities to deal with the phenomenon reported by the VietnamPlus.

Holding that management responsibility is the target, a representative of the Nature and Biology Diversity Conservation Department also stressed that management offices such as CITES and forest ranger departments under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development must get involved in the fight and work out inspection and settlement options.

In a related development, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Chairman of the People’s Committee of central Quang Nam province also announced that they will instruct the inspection and serious punishment of those individuals and organisations that have a role to play in the phenomenon.

Conservationists hope management offices move on elephant conservation hinh anh 2Ivory-based products openly offered at tourist sites in Dak Lak province, ignoring slogans against the act. (Photo: VietnamPlus).
On July 19, 2022, VietnamPlus ran a series of stories on the matter. The stories highlighted that although Vietnam has worked out a comprehensive project on the conservation of elephants and strengthened the cooperation in law enforcement over ivory smuggle, the negative practice continues unabated both in secret and out in the open.

It is with great regret that while consumers show a considerable taste for ivory products, bones or hair of elephants, they do not know that thousands of individuals have been poached each year for their consumption. Database of the Education for Nature – Vietnam show that in 2021 alone, as many as 575 cases related to ivory were recorded.

It is even weirder that as places selling elephant-based products are quite open, leading officials of the management offices, when asked, appear to be surprised or even proudly affirm that over the past more than 10 years now, no cases of ivory smuggle have been detected.

This is a sad and worrisome fact that not only adversely affects the conservation of the jumbo animals but also reduces the effectiveness of the law enforcement and hugely harms the image of Vietnam in the eye of international friends and visitors. It also poses a big question as to the responsibility and the management of local authorities over the past years./.