Field operations, outreach activities, and crime investigations were suspended due to COVID then switched to remote operations. The wildlife crime unit and related investigations continued with modifications. The communications and law and policy teams increased their work with new opportunities, including international work to explain COVID as a zoonotic disease.
The global Coronavirus pandemic is raising awareness surrounding the harmful environmental impacts and global health implications related to illegal wildlife trade, habitat loss and wildlife use. Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) developed and circulated a new PSA to highlight the health risks of wildlife consumption. The Covid-19 PSA illustrates the origin of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, follows the rapid spread of infection and emphasizes that Covid-19, SARS, and H5N1 all originated from wildlife. The video advises audiences to reject wildlife consumption and report any information relating to the advertisement, possession, transportation, killing, sale, or consumption of wildlife to ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline. The Covid-19 PSA was distributed to television stations across Vietnam, airing on major national TV stations and earning media coverage internationally.
Other ENV activities in 2020 included campaigns targeting use of tiger bone and primates as pets, as well as significant impacts in wildlife law, legislative advocacy and policy review. Wildlife crime cases and prosecutions included a successful sting operation carried out with Hanoi police, and significant busts and prosecutions for online wildlife selling and wildlife laundering.