Famous comedians Quoc Khanh and Cong Ly urge the public to protect tigers.
Hanoi, June 1, 2016, Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) has released its latest public service announcement (PSA) which features famous comedians Quoc Khanh and Cong Ly urging the public to protect the world’s remaining tigers by avoiding consumption and use of tiger products.
The PSA is set back in Vietnam’s imperial era, with the honorable king, starring Quoc Khanh, receiving guests during the Lunar New Year. Cong Ly, playing a flashy man in a polished suit and fancy car, shows up to offer the gift of a tiger to the king. To everyone’s surprise, the king turns down the gift and delivers a wise message: “Tigers are not medicine. The tiger is the king of the forest and the majestic symbol of our nation.” The king goes on to say, “ It is the duty of each and every citizen to protect our tigers,” ending with the king making a phone call to ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline 1800-1522 to report the violation.
In the last 30 years, wild tiger populations in Vietnam have been in steady decline. Experts believe that there are as few as five wild tigers remaining in the country.
The greatest threat to Vietnam’s tigers is illegal hunting and trade. Tiger bones are used to make traditional medicine. Tigers are also consumed in wine or displayed as trophies. ENV’s statistics alone have recorded 772 violations related to advertising, selling, possession, and smuggling of tigers since 2010.
“Demand for tiger products in Vietnam has not just reduced our own tiger populations,” says ENV Vice Director Nguyen Phuong Dung. “It has contributed to the decline of the world’s tiger population too.”
Dung called upon ordinary people to get involved by avoiding use of tiger products, and more importantly, reporting to authorities when they observe violations involving advertising, selling, or trade of tigers.
Dung also emphasized the need for the government to take a stronger stance on tiger trade through a number of immediate and urgent measures including:
- Aggressively pursue criminal networks and their leaders that are engaged in the illegal smuggling and trade of tigers.
- Strengthen deterrence by addressing weaknesses in the application of the law that has thus far resulted in lax punishment for tiger traders and not a single criminal prosecution or imprisonment of a major tiger trader.
- Meet international obligations to prevent the growth of tiger farming in Vietnam, which are widely recognized and documented as cover for the laundering and illegal trade of tigers. Most tiger farms are neither for education nor conservation purposes but merely created to legitimize tiger trading activities.
“The future of our tigers, and indeed the world’s tigers, depends upon us and what we do now,” says Dung. “Each and every one of us has an opportunity to make a difference, whether we are a farmer or a judge, a student or government worker, a policeman or a soldier. We need to decide. Shall we sit and watch this majestic part of our heritage slip into extinction as we did the rhino? Or should we do our part now?”
The PSA is part of ENV's long-term campaign to reduce consumer demand for products made from tigers and address the illegal tiger trade. The new PSA will be aired on national and provincial television channels throughout Vietnam in coming months, and can be watched online at: https://youtu.be/GvpqPOvJjaU
ENV gratefully acknowledges comedians Quoc Khanh and Cong Ly, Awely Wildlife and People, and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service for their valuable support in producing this PSA. ENV would also like to thank national and provincial TV channels, VTV Cab, An Vien TV (AVG), VTC Digital, and Sen Communications for airing the film and enabling this important message to reach millions of people across Vietnam.