Vietnam Wildlife Trade

What is Illegal Wildlife Trade?

Illegal wildlife trade is the acquisition, trade, and/or distribution of wildlife against local or international laws.

This includes: 

  • Live or dead wildlife 
  • Animal parts 
  • Products containing animals parts

Wildlife trafficking is another term for illegal wildlife trade and typically refers to the capture and selling of live wildlife.

Wildlife Trade in Vietnam

Vietnam has a combination of factors that make poaching attractive to wildlife traders:

Rare Species 

Vietnam’s natural ecosystems provide habitat for some of the world’s rare and admired species such as tigers and pangolins. 

Demand for Products

Cultural beliefs around the medicinal powers of ingredients that can only be derived from certain species drives up the price of wildlife. 

Poor Law Enforcement

A lack of resources and education in Vietnam has resulted in an underenforcement of laws related to wildlife trade.  


The generally low income level of rural communities makes the opportunity to make a large amount of money illegal more enticing for some poachers.   

Types of Wildlife Trade in Vietnam 

The most known types of illegal trade are for large animals such as tigers and rhinos. However, illegal wildlife trade also includes various types of reptiles, sea creatures, and birds.

Wildlife Trade Volume & Statistics

Illegal wildlife trade activities range from single items sold at a local level, all the way up to large commercial cargos exported worldwide. 

3,050 Tonnes (Over 6 million pounds; Over 2.7 milling kilograms) per year – the estimated amount of wildlife meat imported and exported into Vietnam each year.

The domestic consumption is estimated to be twice as much.

$66.5M USD – The estimated annual revenue from Vietnam wildlife trade in 2003.

The main source of wildlife poaching is in protected areas (2003 Wildlife Trade Report).

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