On June 15, 2021, a Vietnamese animal activist received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Award, nicknamed the “Green Nobel,” for rescuing hundreds of pangolins, the most widespread mammals in the world.
90% reduction in pangolin
The scales of this animal are known to act on arthritis, ulcers, tumors and menstrual cramps in traditional Chinese medicine, virtues that have never been scientifically established. Millions of pangolins have been killed in recent years, victims of major human trafficking, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. “The number of pangolins in the wild in Vietnam has dropped by more than 90% in the last 15 years“, complained AFP Nguyen Van Thai, director of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW), an award-winning Goldman for the Environment. His team treated nearly 1,600 mammals before releasing them into the wild and is developing a breeding program for the Chinese-type pangolin, faced with”high risk of extinction“My goal is.”to attract young people and the Vietnamese population as a whole to engage in work to protect forests, wildlife and the environment“, underlined Nguyen Van Thai.
Nguyen Van Thai, Director of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW), September 14, 2020 in Ninh Binh, Vietnam. Credits: AFP / Archive – Manan VATSYAYANA
15 years in prison and a fine of 550,000 euros
Vietnam has recently stepped up the fight against the pangolin trade. In 2018, he revised the law on the protection of endangered species, which increased the penalties. Now this crime is punishable by 15 years in prison and a fine of over 550,000 euros. Arrests of traffickers rose sharply last year, according to the non-governmental organization Nature Education in Vietnam (ENV). Hanoi has also stepped up border controls and launched a campaign to check that pharmacies are not selling drugs containing animals from the illegal trade. Pangolin was once suspected of playing a role in transmitting to humans the coronavirus that appeared in China in late 2019, before scientists questioned this hypothesis. Beijing, meanwhile, withdrew it from the Chinese Pharmacopoeia.