The World Wildlife Fund recently ranked Vietnam as the worst country for wildlife crimes. The WWF ranked 23 Asian and African countries based on how well they protected animals like rhinos, tigers, and elephants. The Animal rights group ranked Vietnam last, with China and Laos finishing close behind in second and third.
According to the Washington Post, Vietnam nabbed the top (or bottom) spot on the list largely because of the country’s belief that rhino horns can cure various ailments. The WWF says that Vietnam is “the major destination” for rhino horns imported from South Africa.
WWF’s global species program manager, Elizabeth McLellan, said:
“It is time for Vietnam to face the fact that its illegal consumption of rhino horn is driving the widespread poaching of endangered rhinos in Africa… It must crack down on the illegal rhino horn trade.”
According to the WWF, several efforts have been made to stop the trading of rhino horns but countries like China, Thailand, and Vietnam have allowed the black market to flourish by failing to enforce laws.
The AFP reports that 2011 was a record year for rhino poaching. 448 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2011 and this year could be worse. The WWF reports that 262 rhinos have already been killed from January to June.
The animal rights group also took a look at the illegal ivory trade. According to the WWF, China and Thailand were the top destinations for the ivory trade.
The WWF said:
“Tens of thousands of African elephants are being killed by poachers each year for their tusks, and China and Thailand are top destinations for illegal African ivory.”
The conservation group said that the black market trade for tigers has decreased over the years but still urged countries to do more to protect the endangered animal. According to the WWF, more than 200 tiger carcasses were found on the black market in 2011.