Prince William urges Vietnam to fight wildlife trade

2016-11-17 18:16
Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, talks with pupils during his visit to a local primary school in downtown Hanoi, Vietnam. (Hoang Dinh Nam, Pool Photo via AP)

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, talks with pupils during his visit to a local primary school in downtown Hanoi, Vietnam. (Hoang Dinh Nam, Pool Photo via AP)

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Hanoi - Britain's Prince William urged Vietnam's leaders on Wednesday to step up the fight against wildlife trafficking, the main theme of his first visit to the Communist country.

The prince, who is president of United for Wildlife, met Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh before the start of a two-day conference on illegal wildlife trade on Thursday in Hanoi.

During his call on the prime minister, William "said he was looking forward to hearing what Vietnam was doing to tackle the challenges presented by the illegal wildlife trade," the prince's office said in a statement.

William also toured Hanoi's Old Quarter, where he visited a traditional medicine shop and a primary school. He then joined local celebrities, traditional medicine experts and wildlife activists at a coffee shop for a discussion about changing social attitudes toward the use of illegal wildlife products.

"The prince's visit is very important," said Nguyen Phuong Dung, deputy director of the local group Education for Nature Vietnam. "He has already drawn a lot of attention from the public, and his message on protecting wildlife will reach many people."

Vietnam is a major transit point and consumer of trafficked ivory and rhino horns, which people mistakenly believe can be used as a cancer cure. On Saturday, authorities destroyed 2.2 tons of seized elephant ivory and rhino horns.

The official Vietnam News Agency said Prime Minister Phuc told William that Vietnam has paid great attention to raising awareness about wildlife conservation and has handed down severe punishments for violators.

It quoted William as telling Phuc that the fight to protect endangered wildlife is transnational, and the government can play a crucial role in ensuring its success.

Read more on:    nguyen xuan phuc  |  prince william  |  uk  |  vietnam  |  poaching  |  conservation  |  animals

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