Online wild animal trading still out of control in Vietnam
  • | Lao dong, dtinews | July 23, 2013 08:56 AM

The illegal trading of rare animals online has become more popular in Vietnam and is now out of control.


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The businesses selling rhino horn, tiger paste or elephant ivory are easily accessible online with phone numbers of the sellers posted.

An advertisement online of a person named Manh, offering for sale Asian rhino horn, attracted hundreds of comments from people who are interested in the product. And, when our reporter phoned the seller, he was told to come directly to the seller's house to check the quality of the product, as the seller did not want to talk in detail on the phone.

Many pet forums are also used as  places for people to exchange ideas about the trading of exotic and ornamental animals.

Nguyen Duy Hung from Cau Giay District, Hanoi, said, “Online trading has become more popular. It's much easier to buy rare products via a direct, confidential transaction online between the seller and the buyer and does not require any brokers.”

According to the latest report from the Wildlife Conservation Society in Vietnam (WCS), the sales of wild animals through classified advertisement websites are the most popular with 43% of individual buyers using them, followed by company websites with 33% and forums with 21%.

Most wild animals are offered for sale for ornamental use, accounting for 84% of sales. Food processing accounts for 9%, while up to 61% of products derived from wild animals are used for healthcare purposes.

It is still uncertain what healthcare benefits rhino horn provides. However, the fact is, this product can bring huge profits which are much higher than other wild animal products such as bear gall and tiger bone glue. The WCS said one kilogram of rhino horn powder can be priced as high as USD60,000.

WCS Director Scott Roberton said, “Many countries have been tightening controls over wild animal trading online, meanwhile, Vietnam has not yet paid due attention to this.”

Lack of attention to and control of online trading

According to the Biodiversity Preservation Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, more people are now involved in online trading of wild animals. The trade has spread nationwide, with the focus in Hanoi and HCM City. In spite of this, the trade is still beyond the control of these management agencies.

According to the Hi-Tech Crime Prevention Department under the Ministry of Public Security, Vietnam has issued sanctions on illegal trading activities online, but the fines are still low.

The management of registration of business websites as well as their content remain lax. In addition, the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s E-Commerce and Information and Technology Department has also admitted challenges in controlling this area. It is now strengthening a decree on controlling e-commerce activities to submit to the government for approval.

WCS proposed tightening control over the registration and content of trading websites and forums. The administration board of these websites needs to disseminate regulations on the trade in wild animals to raise public awareness. Besides, sanctions for violators should be stricter, much more than just fines.

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