The World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, ranked Vietnam the worst country for wildlife protection among 23 nations assessed for enforcement and protection of species prone to poachers, such as rhinos, elephants and tigers. (Check out the full report and list here).
Asian nations topped a majority of the list, with China, Laos joining Vietnam as with Wildlife Crime Scores in the high teens and twenties. Vietnam was named the top destination for rhino horn.
The 23 countries were picked because they rank as top-range transit and destination countries implicated in illegal trade of elephant, rhino and tiger products, according to the WWF. The report graded countries for their protection of each animal, seeking to differentiate between countries where it is actively being countered from those where current efforts are entirely inadequate.
The organization lambasted Vietnam for its lackluster enforcement efforts. The country ranked poorly in all categories, despite efforts to establish pilot breeding farms for tigers to reduce the need for poaching.
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, and that it must crack down on the illegal rhino horn trade, said Elisabeth McLellan, WWF Global Species Programme manager.
WWF commended some nations making headway in protection efforts.
There were important advances in compliance in 2010-2012, with introduction of stricter legislation, wildlife trade controls and penalties in a number of countries, including China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, it said in its report.