Wildlife smugglers are becoming more cunning: environmental police

TN News

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Only ten percent of the actual number of wildlife trafficking cases were detected over the past few years as smugglers are becoming more cunning in their activities, according to the Vietnamese environmental police.

According to a report released by  the central Environmental Police Department last week, up to 90 percent of trafficking cases have not been detected, due to limited equipment and craftier schemes of smugglers.

In 2010, Hai Phong Port customs officials detected four cases of illegal elephant tusks being temporarily imported into Vietnam for re-export.

Since 2005, the port detected the import of 14 cases of illegal wildlife smuggling, confiscated 13.5 tons of elephant tusk and more than 30 tons of wildlife meat.

However, the port authority said that officials busted these cases based on information from foreign countries, or on their own experience without specialized devices to scan containers for wildlife.

Environmental police in Lang Son Province have busted 33 cases of wildlife smuggling since 2007, seizing 130 monkeys, 296 birds, 122 kilograms of snakes and other wildlife parts.

The central Environmental Police Department said smugglers have become more cunning in their activities, like hiding elephant tusks and frozen pangolins in sacks containing dry seaweed, to avoid detection.

According to the report, around 200 species of animals are being smuggled in Vietnam, including 80 endangered species.

Between 4,000 and 4,500 tons of wildlife are transited in Vietnam each year and are mainly smuggled into China, according to the police.

Police also warned against increasing cases of tiger bone being smuggled from Laos, Cambodia and Thailand into Vietnam in the past several years.

Illegal wildlife trafficking worldwide generates between US$5 billion and $20 billion a year, only second to the illegal drug trade.

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