Over the last decade, WCS have conducted surveys of restaurants to gather evidences of illegal wildlife trade sales to the bush meat consumption.
We believe that performing this work alongside strengthening law enforcement capacity will result in an increased proportion of wildlife-related crime prosecution. This, in turn, will make wildlife trafficking higher risk activity and participating in wildlife trafficking a less appealing option for many people.
- Surveys have been done in Ha Noi, Lam Dong, Dong Nai, Dak Nong, and Ho Chi Minh City.
- Surveys were also extended to wildlife establishments such as private zoos, pet shops, souvenir and feng shui stores, and traditional medicine stores.
Inspection and confiscation of wildlife at restaurants in Da Lat
WCS working with local authorities to seize over 300kg of illegal wildlife product in Da Lat, August 2010
In August 2010, with technical assistance and intelligence provided by WCS, Lam Dong Provincial Forest Protection Department with support from the Environmental Police Department - Ministry of Public Security conducted inspections of suspected restaurants relating to wildlife trade in Da Lat, and seized more than 300 kg of wildlife meat and wildlife products of wild boar, civet, porcupine, pangolin, lesser mouse-deer, monitor lizard, bear, snake, deer, black-shanked douc, wildcat, clouded leopard, small-clawed otter, serow, muntjac, flying squirrel, binturong. This was a biggest seizure targeting network of wildlife-related restaurants in Lam Dong at that time.
Report - In Plain Sight: An Analysis of Transnational Wildlife Crimes in Quang Ninh Province, Viet Nam
Research - In Plain Sight: An Analysis of Transnational Wildlife Crimes in Quang Ninh Province, Viet Nam, March 2012
In 2012, WCS released a report on transboundary wildlife trafficking between Viet Nam-China border in Mong Cai City, Quang Ninh Province from 2010 to 2011. The report showed that the most commonly trafficked species on the Viet Nam-China border were pangolins (live, frozen and scale), hard-shell turtles and soft-shell turtles (live and shell), monitor lizards, snakes (king cobra, ratsnake, python), elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns, crocodiles, civets, leopards, tigers, bears (live and nail) ), long tailed macaques, geckos and some birds. Many of them belong to endangered and threatened species in the IUCN Red List and are banned to trade under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), such as pangolins, rhinos, tigers, Siamese crocodiles, etc.
Following information and results of this report, the US and UK Embassies carried out visits to confirm the results. This led to inspections and actions at the border areas by the Office of the Government, the Ministry of Public Security, and the Supreme People's Procuracy to disrupt a wildlife trafficking route in Mong Cai involving trade of tiger and its products.
Internet-based illegal wildlife trade
Phan Huynh Anh Khoa at Tan Binh District Court, June 2016
In December 2015, the Southern Office of National Environmental Police (C49B) collaborated with WCS and the Education for Nature – Viet Nam (ENV) caught in action Phan Huynh Anh Khoa who was packaging nine oriental small clawed otters (Amblonyx cinereus) and one black shanked douc (Pygathrix nigripes) to deliver to his client. Authorities also inspected Khoa’s pet shop and seized two Argentina Black and White Tegu monitor lizard (one dead individual), three Savanah lizard, two squirrels, one crocodile, and two Prairie dogs.
WCS maintained monitoring and updating Khoa’s recurrence of wildlife violation on his social network account to authority since his first instance verdict on June 21, 2016. At the appeal court on September 22, 2016, the People's Court of Ho Chi Minh City dismissed Khoa’s appeal to reduce the penalty, kept the sentence of 5 years in prison and 50 million dong fine and decided to take the defendant into custody right in the court to ensure execution of the sentence.
Strict law enforcement in Phan Huynh Anh Khoa case also impacted “heavily” on situation of wildlife trade on the internet in Viet Nam. According to WCS’s research “Online Illegal Trade in Wildlife 2015 - 2016 in Viet Nam” in 2016 (see Figure below), number of conversations relating to wildlife from online media (Facebook Viet Nam, Youtube channels, forums, news, e-commerce and, blogs) had a deep dive in July 2016 right after the first instance verdict of Khoa on 21 June, 2016. After the trader lost his appeal on 22 September 2016, there was again a slight drop in buzz volume about wildlife in early October 2016.
Figure representing situation of “Online Illegal Trade in Wildlife 2015 - 2016 in Viet Nam”, 2016