Vietnam’s growing affluent classes have developed a taste for rare and hugely expensive wildlife species and products. Conservation groups are trying to change that in a bid to save the country’s shrinking biodiversity.
Project goal: “Education for Nature Vietnam” (ENV) is aiming to curb wildlife consumption in Hanoi while the “World Wide Fund for Nature” (WWF) is trying to prevent hunting of wild animals and promoting rattan production as an alternative source of income
Size: The metropolitan area of Hanoi and 70 hectares in central Vietnam
Funding: 26,000 Euros from donors for ENV’s “Wildlife Crime Unit” and 5 million Euros from the International Climate Initiative and Germany’s KfW bank for the WWF project
Biodiversity loss: Vietnam has lost 12 vertebrate species in the last 40 years
Vietnam is seeing a growing demand for wildlife products - whether it’s the bile of bears, a digestive juice stored in the creatures’ gall bladder and prized as an aphrodisiac, or the meat of rare snakes which is considered a delicacy. The result is that species such as crocodiles, large snakes, bears, monkeys and hedgehogs are disappearing faster than their habitats. If things continue that way, experts estimate that at least 12 species of vertebrates and 200 bird species are likely to die out in the next 40 years. Conservation groups have launched a host of projects to train rangers, fight demand and support the local economy to provide former poachers with an alternative source of income.
A film by Grit Hofmann