China, Vietnam and Thailand are among the worst offenders in fuelling a global black market that is seeing record numbers of elephants and rhinos killed in Africa, the environment group WWF said on Monday.
“Tens of thousands of African elephants are being killed by poachers each year for their tusks, and China and Thailand are top destinations for illegal African ivory,” WWF said.
Releasing a report rating countries’ efforts at stopping the trade in endangered species, WWF said elephant poaching was at crisis levels in central Africa while the survival of rhinos was under grave threat in South Africa.
In parts of Asia, rhino horns are highly prized for their use in traditional medicines — some believe they can cure cancer — while elephants’ ivory has for centuries been regarded as a precious decoration.
Global efforts to stem the trade have been under way for years, but China, Thailand and Vietnam are allowing black markets in various endangered species to flourish by failing to adequately police key areas, according to WWF.
It said Vietnam was one of the countries of most concern, giving it a worst-possible “red” score for failing to stem the trade in rhino horns as well as tiger parts.
Source: Bangkok Post