Authorities of the central provinces of Quang Tri and Savannakhet of Vietnam and Laos are discussing ways to map out an action plan to fight the rising problem of cross-border trafficking of wild animals.

The local authorities’ two-day discussion began in Dong Ha city of Quang Tri province on May 23, and was also joined by officials from the General Forestry Department, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Vietnam, the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFIC), the Wildlife Convention Society (WCS)the World Bank (WB), and ASEAN Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN).

Recently, the illegal trafficking of wild animals via the Vietnam-Laos border has increased at a worrying rate, causing the international community concern. Many rare species of animals in this area are facing the risk of extinction.

Scientists forecast that if the illegal trafficking of wild animals was not stopped, between 13 percent and 42 percent of fauna and flora species in Southeast Asia will disappear during this century.

Ha Cong Tuan, Vice Chief of the General Forestry Department, warned that traffickers of wild animals have signalled an intention of establishing a transnational criminal network.

Over the past five years, Quang Tri province had uncovered 254 cases of wild animal trading and launched criminal proceedings against many of the offenders.

The two provinces agreed to boost exchanges of information between their relevant agencies and cooperate in enforcing legal measures against cases related to wild animal trafficking. They also worked on ways to protect nature and preserve biodiversity at border areas./.