African pangolins continue to face an unprecedented threat from the transnational trafficking of their scales. This is primarily driven by demand from China, where the scales are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), both legally and illegally.
The illegal wildlife trade corridor between Nigeria and Vietnam was recognised in the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) report to CoP18 and the 2020 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Wildlife Crime Report, which identified Nigeria and Vietnam as the largest export hub and import hub of ivory and pangolin scales respectively. This briefing highlights the parallel responsibilities and shortcomings of Nigeria and Vietnam which, as exporter and importer countries, share responsibilities to implement their commitments under CITES effectively and cohesively.
For a decade, Vietnam has been repeatedly highlighted for its role in the international illegal wildlife trade, so it is encouraging to see the recent efforts taken by the Government to address its involvement; it is to be congratulated for the measures it has taken and the successes it has had domestically.
Unfettered growth of TCM poses a serious threat to biodiversity in Africa, all in the name of short-term profit. Any utilisation of threatened species in TCM could stimulate further demand, incentivise wildlife crime and ultimately lead to overexploitation.
Nigeria has emerged as the main transit and export hub for trafficking in elephant ivory, pangolin scales and other wildlife, but this in-depth analysis of the country’s relevant laws aims to help turn the tide
On the eve of a meeting of the World Heritage Committee, EIA urges it to strip the world-famous Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania of its status as a World Heritage Site due to the irreversible damage done by construction of a controversial dam.