In the subterranean realm of smuggling, trading in ivory and wild animal goods (wildlife) results in huge earnings after people and drug trafficking… This explains why this unlawful trade is growing increasingly popular nowadays. the more difficult. We witnessed the tip of the iceberg of the ivory trade as we journeyed through the Central Highlands and into the gold capital of Phuoc Son (Quang Nam)
According to authorities and many animal conservation organizations, the penalties for storing, trafficking, and processing ivory are severe and deterrent. A police official in Dak Lak province also mentioned a spouse who “begged” not to tell his wife about the fine amount because he was scared she might faint. Yet, the country’s “elephant capital” continues to engage in openly prohibited trade operations, defying the law.
Trimming elephant’s tail fur publicly
I got the opportunity to participate in a field survey on the ivory trade arranged by a unit to the Central Highlands provinces and the gold capital of Phuoc Son in the middle of June (Quang Nam). The survey was carried out after the Environmental Crime Prevention and Control Department (Dak Lak Provincial Police) conducted an inspection of 20 business establishments (jewelry shops, fine art shops, souvenir shops) in the province, seizing over 2,000 jewelry products made of ivory, fangs, animal claws, and so on; 7 establishments were fined a total of more than 2.1 billion dong.
Banners are displayed at the Buon Don tourism area
The investigation and strong fines were supposed to reduce the number of ivory and wildlife product smugglers, but the reality is rather different. We followed the crowds to Buon Don (Dak Lak), the region of elephants, which is famed for its unique narrative of elephant hunting and taming in the country. As soon as we arrived to Buon Don Tourist Center, our eyes were confronted by a banner with the words plainly written: “Say no to the usage of goods from elephants”. But, when we strolled through the Serepok River suspension bridge, we noticed elephant tail hair being cut directly off the elephants transporting tourists wading into the river to view the landscape.
Major Nguyen The Anh, an official with the Dak Lak Provincial Police’s Environmental Crime Prevention and Control Department, stated that during the penalty, a husband who is a business owner possesses less than 300g of ivory. Please do not inform my wife about the more than 100 million dong fine since she is scared she would… pass out. Because they do not believe that selling such modest items will result in a hefty consequence. Major Anh advised that promotion and distribution of rules and punishments linked to wildlife trafficking in general, as well as items derived from ivory and rare species, be promoted so that people are aware of and accept them to prevent infractions.”
A tall guy agreed to acquire elephant tail hair on the condition that he cut it off the elephant to show its authenticity. Nai (the operator) swiftly sold one skein for 300,000 VND and purchased two strands for 500,000 VND. The guest closed the truss, and the elephant tail hair cutting took place in front of several guests. Hundreds of iPhones are pointing at the elephant in action.
I assumed that the elephant tail hair trimming was done on the spur of the moment in response to the customer’s wants. Nonetheless, the elephant buddy proceeded to tease the other visitors and myself because just two yarns were sold this morning. A man working as a tourist attraction staff also took advantage of the opportunity to purchase a pre-cut elephant tail hair bag for 300,000-350,000 VND Per yarn. Despite this, he carries a bag of white rings that sell for 350,000-450,000 VND each piece. The man affirmed that the ring was 100% genuine ivory; if you want to check it, simply hold it up to the light and you will see each vein clearly. This posture demonstrated that greater items exist, but they are wary of outsiders for fear of getting caught.
Elephant keeper cut their tails’ fur and sell them directly to clients
Many sorts of jewelry are sold at souvenir stores, including rings, rings, earrings, and pendants that look like ivory. Products created from elephant bones have been presented. As we requested for genuine ivory products, a female shopkeeper activated the “two-eyed camera” mode, which scanned us from head to toe. This man was confident enough to open a strange package holding a variety of jewelry thought to be real ivory. This individual claimed that he did not dare to exhibit much because the new functional forces searched and confiscated a large amount of stuff. Some of the brilliant jewelry provided with 100% real ivory has been plated with silver; clients may pick from original sorts. Customers are shown a large ivory ring worth more than 10 million VND, and the owner offers unusual things, which would be transported to the location if purchased. When the buyer was not convinced, the shop owner poured the magical effects into his ears: exorcism, detoxification, luck…
Elephant products are marketed in Dak Lak tourist sites.
We were also shown amazing jewelry made of ivory and elephant tail feathers at another souvenir shop.
Direct ivory cutting
We were introduced to an elephant owner in Ea Huar commune at a roadside café in the tourism region of Buon Don district. This owner has a male elephant with stunning tusks. The standard is to trim the ivory when it becomes too long for selling. Following the address, we were able to contact the elephant owner H.L. A monolithic ivory weighing more than 3kg, according to this woman, is offered for sale for 30 million VND/kg. This individual is adamant that the goods may be grown, and hence there is no false or African product. “If you agree to buy, then deal straight. She did not deliver the automobile since no one would accept it, especially since it had been exchanged. If you are frightened, I will request a donation certificate from the government for your piece of mind. She also sold and requested a certificate from her consumers. “I have an elephant in my house; if I don’t have an elephant, they would grant me a road permit,” the owner claimed.
A wide assortment of ivory jewelry is on display
After leaving the Ban Don elephant country, we took Highway 27 to Lien Son (Lak district, Dak Lak). This enormous plateau was previously home to gigantic elephants that accompanied King Bao Dai (the final ruler of the Nguyen Dynasty) on hunting expeditions. Because of the “specialty” of the picturesque Lak lake, traditional food, and elephant riding service, this location has now become a tourist magnet for visitors from all over the world (which is being turned down by the government and conservation organizations to be become tourism-friendly). As a result, several wildlife conservation organizations plan propaganda campaigns and sign pledges not to buy, trade, or keep animal items, including ivory, in this location. But, when wandering through various souvenir stores, we saw numerous goods that were advertised as being manufactured from genuine ivory. For example, at the M.P. store, we were shown many tiger claws and bear claws still attached to the hair, which are confirmed to be 100% forest products; additionally, there are many jewelry items introduced to be made from ivory, such as rings, rings, pendants, and so on, with prices ranging from a few hundred thousand to several million dong/piece. The female proprietor verifies that the things are genuine, and visitors buy a lot.
Another store in Lien Son town (Lak district) has also presented enough items made entirely of elephants. If necessary, the owner will sell the elephant’s whole ivory for 40 million VND/kg.
Nguyen Quoc Hung, Director of Dak Lak Province’s Forest Protection Department, stated that Vietnam has been a member of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) for a very long time. Any wildlife-related objects, such as elephants, are forbidden and cannot be purchased, traded, or exchanged. “Just recently have I heard of applying for a certificate of house ivory for sale and exchange. “This is a forbidden item; if the above-mentioned certificate is incorrect, it may be handled,” Mr. Hung explained.
Source: Tien Phong news