Thirty environmental police officers from 28 south and central provinces are taking part in a three-day training workshop opened on April 14 by the international wildlife trading monitoring network, TRAFFIC.

Co-organised by TRAFFIC Southeast Asia-Greater Mekong Programme, the Central Environmental Police, and Forest Protection Department, the workshop provides officers an overview of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and updates them on the trade going on in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

The trainees will also be instructed on national laws to implement CITES and taken on a half-day visit to a tiger farm for a discussion on the threat of wild species being traded through captive-breeding operations.

“While environmental crimes are getting more complex, especially the illegal cross-border trade in wildlife, apprising police officers of international environmental conventions that Vietnam has committed to is very important and should be done on a regular basis,” said Colonel Luong Minh Thao, deputy director of the Vietnam Environmental Police.

In June last year, 30 officers from 16 northern provinces received similar training in Hanoi.

“Officers who attended the training have been able to return to their provinces and act as the focal point for their departments on CITES restrictions and legislation for any illegal wildlife trade seizures that have been made. We’re encouraged by the widespread participation in this second round of training and are hopeful that we can achieve equally positive results,” said Nguyen Dao Ngoc Van, senior project officer for TRAFFIC Greater Mekong Programme.

The training is one component of an ongoing Wildlife Trade Campaign supported by Denmark.

In its second phase, the campaign aims to focus all its efforts on key target wildlife consumers in Hanoi, Government officers, and business people.

Since it was set up in 2007, the Environmental Police has demonstrated its commitment to stopping illegal wildlife trade in a number of high-profile seizures, including over two tonnes of illegal wildlife products in Hanoi last January, the largest seizure in the capital.

TRAFFIC works to ensure that trade in wild plants and animals is not a threat to the conservation of nature. TRAFFIC is a joint programme of the World Wide Fund for Nature and the World Conservation Union./.