(ENDANGERED ANIMALS) It is awful for animal rights groups to hear that exotic animals of Vietnam that ought to be protected are ending up as entrées. A new survey shows just how much wild animal products are consumed in Vietnam and, more importantly, who’s eating them. The results of this survey may assist Vietnam’s lawmakers in banning the practices for good. — Global Animal
VN-Today, Trung Thanh
WAR on May 23, announced its latest discovery of the consumption of wild animal products in HCM City.
This is the result of a survey of over 4,000 residents and around 3,600 secondary-school students in HCM City, conducted from August 2010 to April 2011, by WAR and the Faculty of Biology of the HCM City University of Natural Sciences.
According to the survey, nearly 51% of the surveyed residents who live and work in HCM City have used wild animal products, of which 48.4 % have consumed wild animalproducts more than three times per year. Men consume more wild animal products than women.
Food accounts for the greatest percentage of wild animal products consumed in HCM City (75.3% of people who have consumed wild animal products), followed in turn by wild animal drinks, health products, pets, and fashion and ornamental purpose. Restaurants in HCM City are the most common place for people to eat wild animal foods.
Species that are most widely consumed, and therefore are the most threatened species include snake, wild boar, stag, deer, wild fowl, porcupine, bear, civet/weasel, turtle, python, and monitor lizard.
The middle-aged group (about 36-45 years old), government officers, and people with high education levels have a tendency to consume wild animal products more than other age groups– people with lower social working positions, and people with lower education level. People who work at state and private enterprises have a tendency to consume wild animal products more than people with other profession groups.
The consumption of wild animal products of HCMC people seems to have a tendency to increase in the future.
The majority of HCMC people eat wild meat because others invite them, they want to try new experiences or they feel the meat is more delicious.
The consumption of wild animal products of secondary school students in HCM City was strongly influenced by their parents and adults in their families. Students usually go to eat wild meat with their parents in specialty restaurants in other provinces, or during family events such as birthdays and family gatherings at home.
The residents and students of Ho Chi Minh City have a good knowledge about the roles of wild animals, but a poor understanding about the rarity levels to a particular species, especially the smaller species that are mostly consumed.
HCM City residents and students also do not know clearly about wild animal trade. They think that any action of wild animal trade is illegal. They are not aware that consumption of wild animals creates the driving force for hunting and trading of wild animals, pushing many species to the brink of extinction in Vietnam.
The survey reveals that the students have a better understanding towards wild animalprotection. They also show a better willingness in taking part to protect wild animals, more so than adults.
Television seemed to be the preferred learning tool for the residents and students. In the coming time, Internet is also an effective channel for communication and education about wild animal protection.
Vietnam has a rich resource of wild animals including many endangered wild animal species. Wild animals play important roles to humans and ecosystems. Nowadays, the wild animals are being threatened; more than 400 endangered animal species are listed in Vietnam’s Red Book, 2007.
More and more wild species are being pushed towards extinction. The Javan Rhino (Rhinocerous sondaicus annamiticus) that died in Cat Tien National Park in May 2010, could be the last Javan Rhino in Vietnam. The deaths of seven wild elephants at Dong Nai province highlights the problems facing Vietnam’s remaining wild elephant populations in Vietnam; or the possible extinction of wild tigers in Vietnam by 2022.
There are many causes for wild animals in Vietnam facing extinction, including illegal hunting, trading and capturing of wild animals; and loosing habitats due to forest destruction in the process of country modernization and industrialization; forest burning or changing of land use purposes. Environmental pollution is also another cause for wildanimal becoming increasing rare.
Vietnam has many efforts to prevent illegal trade and consumption of wild animals. Law system relating to wild animal protection in Vietnam is quite adequate. Vietnam also joined CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in 1994 in order to combat species extinction due to global trade.
According to experts, Ho Chi Minh City is one of the “hot spots” of wild animal product consumption in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City not only is a place where wild animal products are consumed but also a transshipment terminal for many routes of the wild animal trade.
The research of wild animal product consumption situation in HCMC will be an important base for promoting wild animal protection effectively and timely.