As his first act as a WWF ambassador after being named world number one, tennis champion Andy Murray has signed a WWF petition calling on Vietnam to end its illegal wildlife trade. This comes at a critical time, less than one week before the Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade taking place in Vietnam on the 17 and 18 November.
HRH the Duke of Cambridge will be attending the conference along with governments from around the world. The petition has more than 155,000 signatures so far and will be presented to the Vietnamese government next week.
Last year poachers killed 1,338 rhinos and around 20,000 elephants across Africa to feed the relentless and illegal trade in horns and ivory. Vietnam has the largest illicit market in the world for rhino horn and also plays a key role in the trafficking and consumption of large amounts of other illegal wildlife products including ivory, pangolin scales and tiger skins; yet little action has been taken to address this. To date Vietnam has not made a single recorded prosecution of a rhino horn or ivory trafficker.
It’s up to each one of us to do our part
Andy Murray says:
“I have just signed the WWF petition to urge Vietnam to end its illegal trade in wildlife products. Some of the world’s most beautiful species are threatened by this horrendous crime - from tigers to pangolins to elephants to rhinos. It’s up to each one of us to do our part and take a stand against it, so I encourage everyone to sign this petition.”
The Hanoi Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade follows on from the London Conference in 2014 and the Kasane Conference in Botswana in 2015. Vietnam, along with other governments will provide a report on progress made in implementing the commitments from the previous conferences. This will not be the first time Vietnam faces tough scrutiny for its role in the illegal wildlife trade. Last month at CITES CoP17 - the world’s largest wildlife trade conference - Vietnam was given one year to make significant progress in tackling illicit rhino horn trade or face tough trade sanctions.
At Hanoi the conference outcome will include time-bound deliverables that countries need to implement in order to meet the London Declaration and Kasane Statement commitments. In particular WWF is calling for the timely closure of tiger farms across Asia and domestic ivory markets worldwide.