Otters in Vietnam and other parts of Asia are at grave risk from extinction from poaching and illegal trade. This project will support efforts to end otter trafficking in Vietnam by investigating the online trade in otters. Otter pups are especially targeted for the exotic pet market, conveniently facilitated by social media platforms. Otters are also killed for their fur to make coats and hats, and other parts used as ingredients in traditional medicines.
The illegal pet trade is among the most pressing threats to the survival of otters in Asia. Vietnam is a significant consumer of illegally traded wildlife, which has caused depletion and near extinction of its own wildlife, and drives the poaching and killing of wildlife in other countries.
Enforcement authorities often do not have sufficient resources to effectively combat all the aspects of wildlife trafficking. We aim to catalyze targeted law enforcement efforts by providing actionable information towards ending the poaching and trafficking of otters. We must urgently enhance proactive investigations into the growing demand for otters. The social media messaging around the information we find during the online investigations is aimed at reducing the demand for otters.
The reduction of poaching and trafficking in otters will benefit the long-term survival and recovery of otters in Vietnam and other parts of Asia. This will be accomplished through building local appreciation for otters and the role they play in the ecosystem, making otter trafficking an enforcement priority in Vietnam and catalysing long-term conservation actions.