Law enforcement officers and journalists honored for their contribution to wildlife protection

HANOI, October 14, 2015 — Today, the United States Agency for International (USAID), Freeland and Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV)  hosted the second annual “Outstanding Achievement Awards for Wildlife Protection” ceremony to honor five law enforcement officers and two journalists for their contributions to the protection of wildlife in Vietnam.

Launched in November 2014, the National Awards nomination process attracted applications from across Vietnam. Candidates included journalists, police officers, forest rangers, customs officers, border police, fisheries officers, and other members of the law enforcement community with a proven track record in protecting wildlife. The seven winners were selected by a panel of representatives from Freeland, IUCN Vietnam, People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature), TRAFFIC Southeast Asia– Greater Mekong Program and ENV. The winning candidates are:

Outstanding Enforcement Officer Award:

1. Huynh Quoc Thang – Customs Officer, Tan Son Nhat International Airport Customs

2. Nguyen Duy Toai – Team Leader, Environmental Police Department, Bac Kan

3. Nguyen Huu Hoa – Forest Ranger, Saola Nature Reserves, Hue

4. Nguyen Trong Khoi – Team Leader, Environmental Police Department, Tay Ninh

5. Tran Huu Hong – Head of Environmental Police Department, Nghe An

Excellence in Journalism Award:

1. Do Doan Hoang – Journalist, Lao Dong newspaper

2. Le Thi Hong Van – Journalist, Nhan Dan newspaper

The event was part of the USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) Program, an alliance of non-governmental organizations and other agencies, including ENV and Freeland, working together across Southeast Asia and China to stop wildlife trafficking.

Vietnam is home to a large number of rare and endangered species, many of which are under serious threat as a result of illegal poaching and trade. Considered a key player in the global wildlife trade, Vietnam is also home to sophisticated and far-reaching organized criminal networks that traffic tons of wildlife every year to meet the increasing domestic and international demand for exotic food, medicine and products made from wildlife. From 2014 to the end of August 2015, ENV recorded 12 major rhino horn and 34 elephant ivory crime cases. Over 10 tons of rhino horn and elephant ivory were confiscated in August 2015 alone. Rhinos went extinct in Vietnam in 2010 and many other of the country’s most endangered species, including tigers, bears, pangolins, elephants, endemic primates and saolas are all at risk of extinction.

The ceremony also acknowledged official corporate and media partners, as well as notable contributions from civil society and the public. These groups all play a critical role in assisting in the protection of Vietnam’s endangered wildlife.

Source: www.usaid.gov

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