A Danida-funded study on wildlife consumption published recently gives an insight into the attitudes and behavior of Hanoi residents towards wildlife consumption in Vietnam, which pose a serious risk to a number of endangered species and threatens to destroy the biological heritage of the country.
The results of the study were presented to the public at a press conference on April 7 attended by Danish Ambassador Peter Lysholt Hansen.
At the press conference Peter Lysholt Hansen called upon the government of Vietnam to give high priority to combat unsustainable wildlife consumption.
“The Vietnamese government has already taken steps to combat illegal harvest and trade in endangered species. Vietnam has signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. The issue is also addressed through national action plans as well as the Law on Environmental Protection. But as the results of the survey shows, it is evident that the enforcement of these measures is not adequate. It is also evident from the survey that there is an urgent need for a change of attitudes and behaviors among Vietnamese people particularly business people and government officers who are the main consumers and trendsetters. The Vietnamese government and people should take this matter very seriously and make a great effort to enforce the laws on wildlife consumption and live up to the international conventions, which they have signed.”
The study on wildlife consumption is based on a survey of 2000 Hanoians. It shows that consumption of wildlife animals and plants as food, health products and ornamental products in Hanoi may involve as much as 50% of the city’s residents.
Wildlife consumption has deep roots in Vietnamese culture. A very worrying finding of the survey is that the general public lacks awareness of key legislation as well as the link between their own consumption of wildlife and the impacts on the environment, including wildlife extinction. What makes the situation even more disturbing is the fact that the use of wildlife products is popular, fashionable and increasingly affordable in Hanoi.
The Danida-funded study is a small step in the direction of changing the attitudes towards wildlife consumption in Vietnam by gaining an understanding of the behaviors and motivations of the people. It is hoped to encourage necessary innovations in science, policy and communications in order to better protect wildlife.
The knowledge gained from the survey will form the basis of a long-term awareness-raising campaign carried out by TRAFFIC – the wildlife trade monitoring program of WWF and IUCN – and will form the basis of a long-term awareness-raising campaign.