Stepping up Wildlife Protection at Vietnam's Airports

Vietnamese airport officials study the Wildlife Friendly Skies Awareness booklet

BANGKOK, January 30, 2015 – Seventy-three Vietnamese airport officials took part in a new global training program in Hanoi this week to help stop illegal wildlife trafficking through airports.

The Wildlife Friendly Skies workshop, organized in partnership with the Biodiversity Conservation Agency of Vietnam’s Environment Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Northern Airport Authority of Vietnam, focused on commercial flight routes connecting Vietnam to other wildlife source, transit and consumer countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.

Carried out under the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) supported Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) program by USAID implementing partner, Freeland, the workshop took place at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport. Law enforcement and wildlife experts presented real case studies to illustrate the scale and seriousness of wildlife smuggling. Trainers also provided tips on how to identify wildlife species and products, how to profile traffickers and examples of smuggling methods.

Participants included officers working in ground services, customs, cargo handling, quarantine services and other departments relating to the inspection and detection of wild animals. Participants learned more about the illegal wildlifetrafficking issue in Vietnam and internationally, as well as how to detect and respond to wildlife trafficking cases.

Globally, the illegal trade in endangered species is estimated to be worth between US$7 and US$23 billion per year. It is recognized as a significant threat contributing to the rapid depletion of the world’s biodiversity. Evidence also suggests the illegal trade is increasingly controlled by organized transnational criminal syndicates, with airlines commonly used to smuggle endangered species such as birds, primates and turtles.

The training course is part of a larger counter wildlife trafficking airport campaign in Vietnam, which will also include the placement of signs, banners, LCD screens playing public service announcements and inflight media targeting passengers travelling through airports.

Now in its fourth year, the USAID-funded ARREST program is the U.S. Government’s largest counter wildlife trafficking initiative in Southeast Asia working to stop wildlife crime.

For more information, please contact: Freeland Director of Communications Nick Laidlaw

Biodiversity Conservation Agency Program Manager Ha Thi Minh Thang

Note to editor:

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent U.S. Government Agency that operates under the foreign policy direction of the U.S. Secretary of State. Following 50 years of improving lives through development and humanitarian assistance, USAID is the principal U.S. Government development agency partnering with countries throughout the world to promote peace, prosperity, and security. Please visit, follow USAID on @USAIDAsia or for more information.

Freeland is a frontline counter-trafficking organization working for a world that is free of wildlife trafficking and human slavery. Our team of law enforcement, development and communications specialists work alongside partners in Asia, Africa and the Americas to build capacity, raise awareness, strengthen networks and promote good governance to protect critical ecosystems and vulnerable people.  Freeland is also the lead implementing partner of "ARREST" (Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking), the U.S. Government’s largest counter-wildlife trafficking program in Southeast Asia, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). For more info, visit also; follow Freeland on twitter @FREELANDpeople or

The Biodiversity Conservation Agency (BCA) is a department of the Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA), a subsidiary body of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). BCA advises and assists MONRE in the state management of biodiversity resources in Vietnam, including conservation and sustainable development. BCA is responsible for the development and submission of policies, strategies and plans on environment and biodiversity; implementing nationwide monitoring and assessment of biodiversity; providing guidance on the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems, and the conservation of species and genetic resources; raising public awareness and conducting education and training on nature and biodiversity conservation; implementing various projects relating to biodiversity conservation; and monitoring Vietnam’s adherence to several biodiversity-related international conventions.