VietNamNet Bridge – The culprit who killed the Java rhino at the Cat Tien National Park three years ago remains unknown. No state official has been disciplined for the rhino death. This shows the serious loophole in the management work of the Vietnamese agencies in the protection the wildlife.
The site where the last rhino of Cat Tien National Park was killed.
The death of the Java rhino in April 2010 has officially put Vietnam onto the list of the countries where there is no more living rhino.
As soon as the death of the rhino was discovered, WWF urgently asked to conduct an investigation in a large scale. Tran Van Thanh, Director of the national park then committed to closely cooperate with the competent agencies to take the investigation and clarify the death. The Cat Tien National Park then asked competent agencies to apply necessary measures to track down the rhino horn taken away by someone.
Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Pham Khoi Nguyen said at a press conference on May 17, 2010, nearly one month after the rhino’s death, that he just heard the news on that day.
An official of the Environment General Directorate then said he read the information about the rhino death in April 2010, but the Cat Tien National Park was put under the management of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, not the Ministry of Natural Resources the Environment.
At the time when the press conference was held, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment carried out a lot of big activities to respond to the International Year of the Biodiversity. However, it still denied the responsibility for the rhino death.
Analysts have commented that the battle of preventing the trafficking of rhino horns from South Africa to Vietnam has been very tough, because Vietnam still lacks a “commander” who has the big power and responsibility enough to win the battle.
The rhino horn trafficking from South Africa to Vietnam has become more tragic. The rhinos in South Africa have been in a so big danger that the conservatives have to inject poison in rhinos’ horns. The poison would make people, who eat rhino horn powder, vomit and cause fits of convulsion. The horns have also been covered with a substance which allows competent agencies easily discover them in the travelers’ luggage at the airports.
However, Vietnamese traffickers still keep bringing rhino horns to Vietnam, though they know about the poisoning.
A lot of traffickers and the “money-bags” have been planning to import rhinos in a whole from South Africa to Vietnam, where they would legalize their existence by keeping them at farms.
According to TRAFFIC, in three years from 2007 to 2010, 657 rhino horns were legally imported to Vietnam. Meanwhile, CITES Vietnam reported 170 horns only. This means that the State of Vietnam failed to collect $2 million worth of tax because of the loss of the 74 percent of the rhino horn imports from South Africa during that time.
At a workshop in August 2012, Dr Ong Vinh An from the Vinh City University, said the trafficking can bring huge profits, about $4.2 billion a year.
At least two big workshops on preventing the wildlife trafficking have been organized by the Central Committee for Propaganda and Training, TRAFFIC and WWF since 2009.