Vietnam observes International Tiger Day

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Vietnam observed the International Tiger Day for the first time on Friday in Hanoi's Thong Nhat Park.

Activities included exhibitions, a film screening, performances by youth groups and school pupils and workshops to raise awareness of tiger conservation and calls to stop poaching of tigers and the consumption of tiger products.

The event was jointly organized by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the World Wildlife Fund, wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, and the Global Tiger Initiative.

Despite laws protecting them, tigers in Vietnam are still facing the threats of domestic hunting and illegal cross-border trade, a Friday seminar heard.

Vietnam is now home to less than 30 tigers, and the big cat is on the verge of extinction, speakers said.

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

All 13 countries are expected to implement a National Tiger Recovery Program under the GTRP. 

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The focus on tiger conservation in Hanoi will continue on August 5 with a roundtable conference held by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the GTI, where discussions will focus on wildlife trafficking and trade in Vietnam.

July 29th was first declared International Tiger Day last year preceding the 2010 St Petersburg Tiger Summit, which brought together leaders from 13 tiger range countries to commit to doubling the tiger population by 2022.

"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 program.

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