Wildlife conservation organisations call for end to wild birds trade hinh anh 1Cat Ba Island sees disappearance of wild birds due to hunting and illegally trade. (Photo: PV/Vietnam+)

Hanoi (VNA) - Wildlife conservation organisations have sent a petition to the Prime Minister to stop the trade of wild birds nationwide.

The Department of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, told Vietnamplus on May 25 that the conservation of wild and migratory birds has become an issue of greater concern due to rampant trade in wild birds, which has threatened Vietnam's biodiversity and threatened to cause outbreaks of wildlife-related diseases.

In this context, 18 Vietnamese and international non-profit organisations working in nature and wildlife conservation have sent a petition to the Prime Minister to stop the trade of wild birds nationwide.

“In the already challenging times of the 4th wave of COVID-19 in Viet Nam, the rampant trade in wild birds nationwide that has recently been reported by the press may cause more outbreaks of other new emerging zoonotic diseases,” the letter said. “This would pose a risk of creating epidemic catastrophes, destroying efforts and achievements in the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic, and bring anxiety among the entire society.”

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has scientific evidence to confirm that 70 percent of all emerging infectious diseases in people are spread from animals, most of which are from wild ones. Wildlife markets (including wild bird markets and restaurants) have been reported to have linkages to SARS, avian influenza, and COVID-19.

Vietnam has been identified as one of the most important areas in the East Asia-Australia bird flyway network. The country became the 34th member of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP) in 2014 and it showed strong commitment to protecting wild and migratory birds.

According to International and Vietnamese NGOs, wild and migratory birds have long been hunted, and illegally traded widely and openly on a large scale in many places throughout Vietnam, especially in some hot-spots around protected areas and biosphere reserves such as Xuan Thuy, Cat Ba, Tram Chim, Ca Mau National Parks and in big cities such as Hanoi, HCM City and Long An (Thanh Hoa Market).

It said many rare, precious and protected bird species of Viet Nam and the world are captured, slaughtered, stored and sold in the restaurant chain named ‘Birds grow bigger’, and in shops selling wild birds, challenging law enforcement agencies. 

Recently, the problem has been exposed in many investigative press reports, attracting public attention who requested an immediate end to these destructive activities.

Wildlife conservation organisations call for end to wild birds trade hinh anh 2Wild birds are sold at Thanh Hoa market, Long An province. (Photo: HV/Vietnam+)

The NGOs said they highly appreciate the number of laws and regulations on the protection of wildlife issued by Vietnam’s Government. However, the lack of specific regulations on the protection of migratory and wild birds has weakened the enforcement by relevant authorities.

Especially, a number of wild birds and most of the migratory bird species are not listed as endangered, rare and precious species under Decree 06/2019/ND-CP, Decree 64/2019/ND-CP amending Article 7 of Decree 160/2013/ND-CP, so the law enforcement agencies have no legal basis to handle the cases or allow for very light punishment.

To maintain populations of wild and migratory birds, conserve biodiversity, ensure functional ecosystems and prevent disease outbreaks, they request the Vietnamese Government to take a comprehensive approach with a series of specific measures as follows:

Strengthen monitoring of the implementation of Directive 29/CT-TTg dated 23 July, 2020 of the Prime Minister on a number of urgent solutions for wildlife management: requesting Ministries, agencies and localities to lead, supervise, evaluate, promptly reward good examples and apply stringent discipline for agencies that do not strictly follow the Directive.

Amend, supplement and issue new laws and specific regulations for protection of wild and migratory birds, especially birds that have the roles of pollination and insect pest control in agriculture, as well as strengthening punishments on related violations.

Issue legal documents to prohibit advertising, selling, buying, using traps to catch and kill wild and migratory birds and other destructive specialised handmade tools. Issue legal documents to ban the eating, killing, storing, transporting, selling and buying of wild and migratory birds, their meat and body parts. 

Develop a national action plan to protect and enable recovery of wild and migratory birds; and participate in the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

The group of NGOs said it believes that the Government's strong decisions to protect wild and migratory birds are actions of practical significance for Vietnam to achieve the goal of reversing the trend of biodiversity loss worldwide towards 2030, and prevent the risks of diseases caused by trade and consumption of wild and migratory birds./.