Ms. Thérèse Coffey, the UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, paid a visit to Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW) on April 13th, 2023, at Cuc Phuong National Park. Ms. Coffey’s visit to SVW allowed her to gain insight into Vietnam’s conservation efforts and learn about the challenges and opportunities to address illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam.
The delegation was led by Ms. Therese Coffey and included representatives from the British Embassy, International Biodiversity and Climate Director, (Defra) and Head of Illegal Wildlife Trade (Defra). Photo © SVW
During the visit, Ms. Therese Coffey listened directly to Mr. Thai Van Nguyen, Director of SVW, as he introduced the organization, its activities, and prominent achievements in wildlife conservation in Vietnam. She also learned about the challenges and opportunities to address the issue of illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam, including law enforcement, demand reduction, and behavior change. Additionally, the delegation also spent time visiting and learning about the carnivore and pangolin conservation program, as well as the only semi-wild area for pangolins in the world.
Ms. Coffey listened to the introduction about the anti-poaching model in Pu Mat National Park. Photo © SVW
…and visited the only semi-wild area for pangolins in the world. Photo ©UK in Vietnam
Ms. Thérèse Coffey shared after the visit: “The Vietnamese government has made specific efforts in combating illegal trade and protecting wildlife. Many changes can be seen, such as increasing the level of strong penalties for this illegal act. At Cuc Phuong National Park, I can see the efforts to raise awareness of people to protect what belongs to nature here.
SVW, a national non-profit organization, has recently received funding from the UK government to tackle the critical issue of illegal pangolin trade in Vietnam. The “Dismantling the illegal pangolin trade in Vietnam” project, which SVW is implementing in three national parks (Cat Tien, U Minh Thuong, and U Minh Ha) from July 2022 onwards based on SVW’s successes in Pu Mat National Park.
A propaganda billboard about prohibited activities and protection laws in Cat Tien National Park. Photo © SVW
Activities in the project include strengthening law enforcement to protect forests and wildlife in these national parks, developing livelihood programs for local communities to provide sustainable income and reduce pressure on forest resources, and most importantly, reducing demand for illegal wildlife trade products.
As a national non-profit organization, SVW is honored and grateful for the support from the UK government for its wildlife conservation activities. Thai Van Nguyen, SVW’s Executive Director, shared that the support from the UK government has helped SVW to carry out patrol and forest protection activities in coordination with the forest rangers in national parks. We have also consulted with experts to apply new technologies. SVW started with pangolins, but our conservation efforts do not stop at just one species. We have expanded conservation activities to the south, specifically in three ecologically important national parks: Cat Tien, U Minh Thuong, and U Minh Ha, thereby protecting nearly 60% of other wild animal species in Vietnam.