Despite question bans and different COVID-19 restrictions, the tiny squad astatine Viet Nam’s wildlife forensic laboratory has been bolstering constabulary efforts to ace down connected amerciable trafficking, with enactment from the UN Office connected Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 

The constricted probe laboratory worked connected astir 250 transgression cases past year, representing hundreds of idiosyncratic samples from high-profile cases related to rhino horns, pangolin scales, elephant ivory, large cats, fish, carnivore parts, turtles and lion bones. 

Lab upgrade 

The installation is based astatine the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (IEBR), located successful the capital, Hanoi, and has undergone a large transformation. 

It has present go a world-class wildlife forensic laboratory, done backing provided initially by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and, much recently, UNODC

Giovanni Broussard, Regional Coordinator for the UN agency’s Global Programme for Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime, precocious announced continued backing done September. 
“Despite the continuous challenges, the Viet Nam laboratory has continued to run efficaciously and was fixed peculiar support to run during lockdowns, intelligibly demonstrating the committedness of the Vietnamese Government to tackle the amerciable wildlife trade,” helium said. 

Supporting instrumentality enforcement 

The six dedicated forensic unit worked done pandemic restrictions, including section question bans, to guarantee transgression cases were processed and reported efficiently. 

The task funded by UNODC, and implemented by TRACE Wildlife Forensic Network, straight supported much than 70 transgression cases done a specialized prime absorption system.  

Last July, customs authorities astatine the larboard successful Da Nang seized a cargo shipment sent from Durban, South Africa.  The shipment had been declared arsenic wood, but really contained conscionable implicit 3 tonnes of carnal bones, including skulls and 52 horns. 

Bone samples 

Although unit were prevented from travelling to the transgression country owed to COVID-19 restrictions, they provided a sampling usher truthful that customs officers could instrumentality 1 bony from each bag, and extract a illustration of each horn, which were past sent backmost to the IEBR for analysis. 

Regional method enactment specialist, Kelly Morgan from TRACE Wildlife Forensic Network, said “it’s been a challenging 2 years, but the translation is unthinkable to witness.”  

The laboratory is presently undergoing an audit by the US-based Society of Wildlife Forensic Science to guarantee that the enactment practices are accordant with planetary standards.