WWF commends Nghe An provincial authorities for tiger seizures in Viet Nam

Posted on 05 August 2021

Hanoi, 5 August 2021 - Viet Nam’s Nghe An Police in cooperation with Nghe An Forest Protection  Department seized seven tiger cubs on 1 August and 17 tigers on 4 August from two illegal breeding facilities in Nghe An province. 

Benjamin Rawson, Conservation and Programme Development Director at WWF Viet Nam, said: 

"WWF congratulates authorities in Nghe An Province for these seizures. These actions demonstrate a strong commitment to combat the illegal trafficking of tiger products. We encourage these efforts to continue with strong prosecution, with the arrested criminals now facing a potential maximum sentence of 15 years in prison."

These cases also highlight the ongoing issues associated with facilities that breed and/or keep tigers with the intention of supplying them and their parts and products to commercial trade. WWF believes that these tiger farms have no conservation value, and that they undermine enforcement and conservation efforts. They also pose a significant obstacle to the protection and recovery of wild tiger populations by perpetuating a demand for tigers and their products and normalizing their trade and use. This can result in increased poaching of wild tigers.  

There are estimated to be over 8,000 tigers in more than 300 captive facilities across Asia, with an estimated 300 captive tigers in Viet Nam. 

WWF strongly recommends that there be an immediate moratorium on breeding tigers in captivity that do not contribute to conservation efforts and that these tiger farms be phased out in line with international commitments under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 

In the meantime, an audit of all tigers in facilities that currently exist is essential, including the identification of all individual tigers by microchipping, collecting their genetic information and photographing their unique stripe patterns for consolidation in a central database. This way, tigers that end up in the trade can be compared against the database to find their source and ensure that tiger facilities are not feeding the demand for illegal tiger parts.

WWF also recommends the creation of clear protocols for managing seized live tigers in Viet Nam, including moving animals to secure and reputable rescue centres (that do not allow breeding), taking individual identification features to allow for comparison with existing data, and conducting ongoing monitoring to ensure that these tigers do not slip back into the illegal market. WWF is ready to work with the CITES Authorities, the FPD and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) to support this effort.

Media contact:
Tristan Tremschnig, Communications & Advocacy Director, WWF's Tigers Alive Initiative, tristant@wwf-tigers.org