Vietnam has destroyed a huge stockpile of ivory and rhino horn ahead of an international conference the country is hosting on illegal wildlife trafficking. More than two tonnes of elephant ivory and 70kg of rhino horn were crushed and burned on the outskirts of the capital Hanoi on Saturday, in a country where ivory use in traditional medicine and for decoration remains widespread, especially among the communist country's growing elite.
Over the past decade, poachers killed more than 6,000 rhinos across Africa, with more than 1,300 taken in 2015 alone. The ivory and rhino horn trade is officially banned in Vietnam, but the Southeast Asian country is a popular transit point for illegal wildlife destined for neighbouring China, the main market for products fuelling the illicit and lucrative business.
"Vietnam is doing so much in terms of educating the public, trying to reduce demand, increasing the number of seizures - it's a lot of positive news here, but there are some holes," said Teresa Telecky, director of Wildlife at Humane Society International.
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