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Conservation Story 16: Dozens of Tigers Rescued in Viet Nam’s Major Illegal Wildlife Busts

16 Sep 2021

The Asian Tigers Group has supported global efforts to protect tigers in the wild since we established the Tiger Action Fund in 2001. We partnered with WWF and joined TX2 program to double the number of wild tigers in Year 2022. We are delighted to share a great news with all of you. Viet Nam’s Nghe An Police in cooperation with Nghe An Forest Protection Department seized over 20 tigers in August 2021 from two illegal breeding facilities in the province.

© Lam Anh

Benjamin Rawson, Conservation and Programme Development Director at WWF Viet Nam congratulated authorities in Nghe An Province for these seizures: “These actions demonstrate a strong commitment to combat the illegal trafficking of tiger products. We encourage these efforts to continue with strong prosecution, with the arrested criminals now facing a potential maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.”

These cases also highlight the ongoing issues associated with facilities that breed and/or keep tigers with the intention of supplying them and their parts and products to commercial trade. WWF believes that these farms undermine enforcement and conservation efforts by normalising their trade and use, which resulted in increased poaching of wild tigers. There are estimated to be over 8,000 tigers in more than 300 captive facilities across Asia, with an estimated 300 captive tigers in Viet Nam. 

© Lam Anh

As the next step, WWF strongly recommends an immediate moratorium on breeding tigers in captivity that do not contribute to conservation efforts and that these tiger farms be phased out in line with international commitments under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 

In the meantime, an audit of all tigers in facilities that currently exist is essential to ensure tigers that end up in the trade can be compared against the database to find their source and prevent those facilities from feeding the demand for illegal tiger parts. Clear protocols for managing seized live tigers in Viet Nam should also be created to ensure the animals are being transported to secure and reputable rescue centres (that do not allow breeding), record identification features to allow for comparison with existing data, and prevent these tigers from slipping back into the illegal market.

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