* WWF names and shames nations over trade in animal parts
* Says 23 nations could all do more to stem the trade
* Says organised crime syndicates increasingly involved
By Alister Doyle
OSLO, July 23 Vietnam, Laos and Mozambique are
the countries that do the least to crack down on an illegal
trade in animal parts that is threatening the survival of
elephants, rhinos and tigers, the WWF conservation group said on
In its 'Wildlife Crime Scorecard' report, it said 23
countries surveyed mostly in Africa and Asia, the main sources
and destinations of animal parts, could all do more to enforce
laws banning a trade that WWF said was increasingly run by
international crime syndicates.
"Last year had the largest number of elephants poached in
Africa on record," Wendy Elliott, WWF Global Species programme
manager, told Reuters in a telephone interview about the report.
There had been many large seizures of elephant ivory of more
than 800 kg (1,760 lbs), she added, a sign that "there is a
growing involvement of organised crime in this trade".
"Poor performances by key countries are threatening the
survival of wild rhinos, tigers and elephants", the WWF said in
a statement about the report's findings, which are due to be
presented at a meeting of the Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species in Geneva (CITES) this week.
CITES bans virtually all trade in elephant ivory, rhino
horns and tiger parts - often used in traditional medicines - in
order to try to save them from extinction. The animals are also
under threat from other factors such as loss of habitat, climate
change and pollution.
RED TO GREEN
The report, which gave red, yellow or green marks to signal
failure, partial failure or progress, gave worst marks to
Vietnam, Laos and Mozambique with two red marks apiece.
Elliott said that demand for ground-up rhino horn in Vietnam
had partly been spurred by an ill-founded rumour that it helped
cure cancer. WWF urged Vietnam to do more to crack down,
suggesting it tackled the Internet advertising of rhino parts.
Demand in Vietnam "has fuelled a poaching crisis in South
Africa. A record 448 South African rhinos were killed for their
horns in 2011 and the country ... has lost an additional 262
already this year", it added.
WWF said Mozambique had failed to halt the involvement of
its citizens in rhino poaching in South Africa and had not
controlled the ivory trade despite some improved checks at
Laos and Vietnam had failed to report how they would comply
with a ban on the captive breeding of tigers for medicine, it
added. Laos was also failing to control the ivory trade.
China, traditionally a major market for animal parts, was
awarded green marks for its efforts to slow the illegal trade in
rhinos and tigers, but a yellow mark for its work on the trade
in elephant ivory, prized when carved into costly ornaments. WWF
said Beijing should do more to police its domestic ivory market.
India and Nepal were the only nations to get green ratings
for all three animals.
Elliott said many nations already had sufficiently strict
laws. "The problems now is really enforcement," she said. "The
solution is not to ban the trade - it's already illegal."
(Reporting By Alister Doyle; Editing by Andrew Osborn)