Forensic labs crack down on illegal wildlife trade in Viet Nam |

Forensic labs crack down on illegal wildlife trade in Viet Nam |

The limited research lab worked on nearly 250 criminal cases last year, representing hundreds of individual samples from high-profile cases related to rhino horns, pangolin scales, elephant ivory, big cats, fish, bear parts, turtles and lion bones.

Lab Upgrade

The facility is based at the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (IEBR), located in the capital, Hanoi, and has undergone a major makeover.

It has now grown into a world-class forensic laboratory, with funding provided initially by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and more recently by UNODC.

Giovanni Broussard, regional coordinator of the UN agency’s Global Program on Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime, recently announced the continuation of funding until September.

“Despite the continued challenges, the Vietnamese lab has continued to operate effectively and has been granted special permission to operate during the lockdowns, clearly demonstrating the Vietnamese government’s commitment to combating illegal wildlife trade,” he said. he declares.

Support law enforcement

The six dedicated forensic staff worked through pandemic-related restrictions, including local travel bans, to ensure criminal cases were handled and reported effectively.

The UNODC-funded project, implemented by TRACE Wildlife Forensic Network, has directly supported more than 70 criminal cases through a specialized quality management system.

Last July, customs authorities at the port of Da Nang seized a shipment sent from Durban, South Africa. The shipment had been declared to be wood, but actually contained just over three tonnes of animal bones, including skulls and 52 horns.

Bone samples

Although staff were prevented from visiting the scene of the crime due to COVID-19 restrictions, they provided a sampling guide so that customs officers could take a bone from each bag and extract a sample from each. horn, which was later returned to the IEBR. for analysis.

Regional Technical Assistance Specialist, Kelly Morgan of TRACE Wildlife Forensic Network, said: “It has been a difficult two years, but the transformation is amazing to see.

The lab is currently being audited by the US-based Society of Wildlife Forensic Science to ensure working practices meet international standards.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.