Illegal ivory trade rising
Fewer than 150 elephants remain in Vietnam’s forests and the illegal wildlife trade is further decimating populations. Though trade in ivory is banned in the country, loopholes in the law permit shops to sell tusks obtained prior to the ban.
According to a recent survey by TRAFFIC, the ivory business is booming in Southeast Asia with prices in Vietnam being the highest. In recent times, rapid economic and population growth has led to the destruction of much of Vietnam’s forest cover that had already suffered due to the use of the defoliant Agent Orange during decades of war. Now, wildlife observers say that the elephant population in neighbouring Laos, which still has around 1,000 pachyderms, is under attack due to the demand from traders in both Vietnam and China.