Việt Nam’s illegal ivory market is thriving

Illegal ivory in containers at Cát Lái Port in HCM City. Surveys recently carried out at 852 retail outlets in 13 locations and 60 individual sellers on 17 online platforms in Việt Nam found more than 10,500 ivory items for sale, demonstrating the persistence of the ivory retail market. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng HảiViet Nam News HCM CITY — Illegal ivory is widely available at physical and online retail outlets throughout Việt Nam, according to a new TRAFFIC report published with support from USAID.The study, “From tusk to trinket: persistent illegal ivory markets in Việt Nam,” documents surveys recently carried out at 852 retail outlets in 13 locations and 60 individual sellers on 17 online platforms.Although selling ivory is illegal in Việt Nam, researchers found more than 10,500 items for sale, demonstrating the persistence of the ivory retail market.But the report also found that retailers are often transitory.Although ivory was found in all 13 locations, its sale appeared to highly transitory in nature: repeat visits found that 43 per cent of retail outlets observed with ivory had only just began to sell, stopped selling or simply closed over the course of the survey. The comparable figure for online retailers was…

Relief for animals as prestigious Vietnamese zoo quietly ends cruel elephant performances

Following years of criticism from Animals Asia, Saigon Zoo has ended all elephant performances.Saigon Zoo, the biggest in Vietnam, has ended all live elephant performances following years of opposition by Animals Asia.For years, four elephants have been forced to perform tricks, such as rearing up on their hind legs and standing on stools every weekend and on public holidays.These activities cause great suffering to the animals as they are forced to behave unnaturally and in manner which can cause long-term harm to their bodies. Such activities can only be achieved through the threat of violence in the form of spiked sticks known as bullhooks.While the zoo made no formal announcement that the shows have ended, Animals Asia has gained assurances that they have not taken place since December 2018 and will not be reintroduced.Animals Asia has opposed the elephant performances since 2016 when the charity began liaising with the zoo and the Vietnamese Zoo Association.Animals Asia Animal Welfare Director Dave Neale said:“We are absolutely delighted that Saigon Zoo has realised the elephant shows are cruel, out-dated and utterly at odds with the principles of animal welfare.”Saigon Zoo owns six Asian elephants, four of whom were forced to perform. All six…

Dong Nai: forest rangers work to drive away hungry elephants

Dong Nai (VNA) – Forest rangers of Dinh Quan district in the southern province of Dong Nai have been provided with equipment to monitor and drive away wild elephants that have been destroying local households’ crops since the start of this year. The equipment includes a drone, night-vision binoculars, cameras, long-beam lights, hand-held loudspeakers, protective footwear, and raincoats.Nguyen Van Chieu, head of the district’s forest ranger team, said about 14 wild elephants, in groups of two or three, have approached households in Hamlet 5, Thanh Son commune, Dinh Quan district, to search for food, salt, and water. Since early 2019, there have been 11 incidents of elephants intruding upon crop fields of local households, he said, adding that Dong Nai’s forest ranger department has built a 50km electric fence system and is asking for permission to set up another 20km to prevent wild elephants from coming into the area. Experts say the elephant requires a vast habitat, but its living space has been shrunk due to human encroachment into the forest. Local foresters in Dong Nai say the natural habitat for wild Asian elephants has shrunk from 50,000ha in the 1990s to 34,000ha in 2009.Only some 100 wild elephants remain…

300 elephants gather to mourn over the passing of their leader in Sri Lanka

This tear-jerking video shows a large herd of elephants mourning over the passing of their leader near Kalawewa reserve in Sri Lanka. While there are many instances prove that animals also feel joy and love, not many know that they are capable to feel sadness and distress as well.As shown by the heartbreaking footage, nearly 300 elephants gather to pay their last respect to their former leader who was allegedly killed by a rival.The dead elephant can be seen lying on the banks of a lake near Anuradhapura while tens of elephants gather around it.The video also shows the elephants gather around the dead elephant silently as they mourn together.A baby elephant can also be seen reaching out to the dead elephant with its trunk before returning to the herd.According to Daily Mail, the unusual sight also drew a crowd from the locals who flocked the scene to take pictures and videos of the extraordinarily huge herd of elephants.Elephants are some of the animals that are known to mourn over their dead relatives by touching the carcass or covering it with leaves.This was not the first time elephants were seen to display such behavior. Rare footage from National Geographic taken…

Lodi native student works with elephants in Thailand

This winter, Kennedy Herbsleb, 21, of Lodi, spent two weeks in Thailand helping animals and learning hands-on what it’s like to be a veterinarian.Traveling with study-abroad organization Loop Abroad, Kennedy was selected as part of a small team that volunteered giving care at a dog shelter and spent a week working directly with rescued elephants at an elephant sanctuary.The Veterinary Service program brings students to Thailand for two weeks to volunteer alongside veterinarians from the US and Thailand. For one week, Kennedy and her team volunteered at an elephant sanctuary outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand to work with the giant animals and learn about animal rescue and conservation on a larger scale.The elephants at the sanctuary have been rescued from trekking, logging or forced breeding programs. Many of them had been abused and suffer from chronic injuries or blindness. At the elephant sanctuary, they are cared for by volunteers from around the world.Kennedy fed and cared for elephants, as well as learn about their diagnoses alongside an elephant vet. The sanctuary is also home to over 1,000 animals, including cats, dogs, water buffalo, horses and cows, and is sustained in huge part by the work of weekly volunteers such as…