Government leaders urge Vietnamese to "Say No to Ivory"

All citizens should do the same and take on more social responsibility, said Do Quang Tung from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development at the launch of the "Say No to Ivory" campaign in Ho Chi Minh City. Mr Tung said he is joining the campaign to protect the wildlife of the planet and hopes the ethic becomes engrained in all Vietnamese citizens and is passed down to future generations. Recent surveys indicate a large portion of the population remains unaware of the death toll to elephants to create ivory horn products and he affirmed that the government will act decisively to stop its illegal trafficking.

Government leaders urge Vietnamese to Say No to Ivory

Le Nguyen Linh, deputy head of Customs Department at Saigon Port, in turn noted that more than six tons of ivory were seized at Saigon Port in just the last three months of 2016. This fact alone provides a stunning indication that the magnitude of the problem in the country is massive. Hoang Minh Hoang, director of the Centre of Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment, one of the organizers, noted the campaign targets raising public awareness of the need for wildlife protection and to encourage citizens not to buy and use ivory products.

John Baker from WildAid, the other organizer collaborating with the Centre, added that elephant hunting and ivory trading are banned in many countries in the globe, however killing elephants and ivory trading still all too frequently occurs in Vietnam and Asia. Mr Baker said that poaching because of the trade in illegal ivory is posing enormous threats to the survival of elephants and each year around 25,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory.

In just the last decade, the population of elephants has declined 62%. The rampant elephant poaching is also having severe negative impacts on the economy, tourism, and national security of many African nations. Most notably, terrorist groups in Africa are also being supported in part through the illegal ivory trade, Mr Baker underscored. Because of this, the campaign is urging all Vietnamese citizens to pledge to not purchase, possess, or give ivory as a gift and for them to encourage friends, family, and employees to do the same.

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