More than 5,200 people pledged against using wildlife products at outreach events organised by the National Wildlife Protection Network of Education for Nature - Viet Nam (ENV) last October.
The pledges, which were in support of wildlife protection, were obtained in 22 outreach activities across 10 cities in Viet Nam, in events supported by a grant from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
The events were held separately in Hai Phong, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Hue, Da Nang, Quang Tri, Nha Trang, Can Tho, Dong Nai and Ho Chi Minh Cities, and were specifically designed to engage the public to participate and share ideas and attitudes about key issues relevant to the protection of wildlife. Activities included photo exhibits that showed the impacts of illegal wildlife trade to animals such as bears and rhinos, distribution of educational materials, posters and stickers, and interactive events such as quizzes and opinion boards that highlight wildlife protection.
The public were also encouraged to share their thoughts and comments on different wildlife issues such as consumption of wildlife medicine, keeping wildlife as pets, laws on wildlife trade and others.
Among the 2,500 people who shared their ideas was 21-year-old Nguyen Thi Lan Anh. When asked about her thoughts on the use of tiger bone for medicinal purposes, she said, "No! I don’t agree with using tiger bone to cure diseases under any circumstances. Thanks to the development of modern medicine, we have a lot of drugs available, which provide proven quality health care. These kinds of events make people more aware and I’m glad to participate in it."
The volunteers themselves are also enthusiastic about their accomplishments. Tran Ngoc Kien, a Hanoi ENV club member, says that the work that he has done with ENV has inspired him to do her thesis on wildlife protection. "I joined ENV National Wildlife Protection Volunteer Network in 2013. Being a volunteer, I monitored around 100 wildlife crime cases in Hanoi. I also reported many crimes to the ENV hotline and am so happy to see that live animals were rescued. I felt nervous at the beginning but the tasks built my confidence. I’ve realised I like monitoring work and next year, when I graduate, I plan to do my thesis on wildlife protection."
In the past 4 years, ENV has established 15 Wildlife Protection Clubs in 15 cities across Viet Nam and their volunteers represent 36 provinces. These volunteers serve as the critical "eyes and ears" of ENV’s Wildlife Crime Unit. Their intensive training program enables them to conduct geographically-focused surveys to identify businesses violating wildlife protection laws, monitor business establishments monthly as part of ENV’s compliance monitoring program, and organise public outreach activities.
CEPF and IUCN are involved in supporting NGOs such as ENV in their work to strengthen public participation in tackling wildlife trade in the Indo-Burma region which includes Viet Nam. The goal is to help conserve biodiversity and protect important habitats.
The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.
IUCN is leading the second phase (2013-2018) of CEPF's work in the Indo-Burma hotspot, working together with the Myanmar Environment Rehabilitation-conservation Network (MERN) and Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden (KFBG) to form the CEPF Regional Implementation Team (RIT).