Last update 7/30/2011 7:40:00 AM (GMT+7)

Vietnam to have first international day for tigers
VietNamNet Bridge – The first international day for tigers will be held in Hanoi on July 31, to raise the awareness of protection of this endangered species.

A workshop, games and exhibition with the topic “combating wildlife trading”, including tiger trading, will be held, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

In Asia, tigers are being hunted and traded illegally to meet man’s requirements. In Vietnam, tigers are mainly used to make products that are considered as medicines like tiger bone glue and tiger bone alcohol. Their skin and meat are used to make souvenirs or cuddly tigers.

According to statistics by the Education of Nature Vietnam (ENV) in 2010, there are less than 30 tigers in nature in entire Vietnam.

Nick Cox, an expert of the WWF Greater Mekong Sub-region, said that Vietnam is a hot spot in tiger trading from Southeast Asia to China and also for local demands.

As carnivorous animals, tigers help ensure the numbers of bait animal species in control to maintain the balance and stability of the ecological system, Cox explained the significance of protecting tigers.

Pauline Verheij, manager of the anti-tiger trading program of the TRAFFIC organization, confirmed that there are little evidences about the effect of tiger bones in curing diseases and in all cases, there are replacements that are much cheaper and legal than tiger bones.

According to Verheij, breeding tigers at farms are much costly than hunting them in the nature (around 250 times higher), tigers have become the targets of hunters.

The international day for tiger in Vietnam is jointly held by the WWF, the Biodiversity Preservation Agency and TRAFFIC.

In the brink of distinction of tigers in the nature, Russia held the Summit of countries that have tigers, with the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The leaders of 13 tiger-having countries committed to take action to preserve this species. The goal of these countries is the number of tigers in the nature to double from 3,200 to 6,400 by 2022.

Attending countries in the Tiger Summit included: Russia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.

Vietnam makes great efforts in tiger conservation

A children’s painting awards ceremony and an exhibition on combating the trafficking of wild animals were held in Hanoi on July 29 in response to International Tiger Day.  

The celebration is held annually by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Vietnam, Biodiversity Conservation Agency, and the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network, TRAFFIC.

Over the years, Vietnam has exerted significant efforts in tiger conservation by banning tiger hunting and putting the animal on the list of endangered species in need of protection.

However, hunting, illegal trade and illicit transport of this iconic animal are becoming prevalent due to the huge potential for economic profit.

According to the 2010 Report from Education for Nature-Vietnam, the country is on the verge of tiger extinction.

It is estimated that only 3,200 wild tigers survive worldwide, their population having decreased by about 95 percent and their range by 93 percent since 1900. This steep decline is mainly due to heavy poaching and the illegal trade in tiger paraphernalia to supply a thriving black market demand. As well as this, loss of habitat due to deforestation and an increase in the number of animals preying on tigers have also led to their decline.

Vietnam is a significant market for tiger products, as illegal medicines made from tiger bone and tiger wines have become popular, especially among the wealthy, because of their supposed remedial powers.

The demand for tiger parts in Vietnam has led to animals being smuggled in from elsewhere in the region. In March and June of last year, three tigers sourced from Laos were seized in Vietnam, believed to be intended for further domestic distribution. The country is also a transit point for a range of illegal wildlife products, including tiger products, being smuggled to China from other countries.

“Tigers are integral to maintaining healthy, balanced forest landscapes, yet they remain at high risk of becoming extinct in the wild. Vietnam has lost most of its wild tigers, so it's most important contribution at the moment is to play a part in halting the illegal international tiger trade and domestic consumption of tigers. It's as simple as that,” said Nick Cox, Regional Manager of WWF's species programme.

Vietnam’s Global Tiger Day activities will focus on reducing the demand for tiger products and promoting the conservation of wild tigers. Events include exhibitions, a tiger film, children’s activities, performances and a workshop with officials to discuss progress thus far and the next steps in tiger conservation.

“Tigers have long played an important role in our culture and in our ecosystems. Vietnam sees Global Tiger Day as an opportunity to increase public appreciation for this iconic species and to further discuss real solutions for its long term survival,” said Ms Hoang Thi Thanh Nhan, Deputy Director of Biodiversity Conservation Agency under the Vietnam Environment Administration.

Following the event, international experts from the 13 tiger range countries will attend a workshop in Hanoi from August 2-4 to discuss the implementation of the Global Tiger Recovery Programme (GTRP) which aims to double the number of wild tigers by 2022.

Seminar calls for urgent tiger conservation

“The future of tigers depends on our actions” was the message of a seminar held in Hanoi on July 29 to raise public awareness and support for the conservation of a species on the brink of extinction.

The seminar was jointly held by the Vietnam Environment Administration, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWW) and the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC) as a response to International Tiger Day.

Despite having been protected by law as stated in Decree No. 32/2006/ND-CP, tigers in Vietnam are still facing the threats of domestic hunting as well as illegal cross-border trade, the seminar reported.

Vietnam is now home to an estimated less than 30 tigers, which are standing on the edge of extinction.

Vietnam proactively participated in the International Tiger Conservation Forum and developed the National Tiger Recovery Programme, aimed at increasing the number of the large cat species by minimising the threats facing them.

According to Nguyen The Dong, Deputy Head of the Vietnam Environment Administration, in an effort to implement the priorities of the national programme, Vietnam continued to build its law enforcement capacity through training courses and investigations of tiger conservation sites.

The country has enhanced transnational collaboration in combating illegal wildlife hunting and trafficking, Dong said, adding that Vietnam had signed memoranda of understanding on the issue with border provinces of Laos and Combodia.

Since 2001, WWF in Vietnam has focused on tiger conservation in the central Truong Son area and built the capacity of legal investigation and inspection enforcement for local officials. The fund also launched a number of campaigns to reduce the consumption of wildlife products in Hanoi and the central province of Thua Thien Hue.