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Worst for Wildlife: Vietnam

New WWF report ranks China second, Laos third
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2012 8:07 AM CDT
Worst for Wildlife: Vietnam
In this photo taken on 13 March 2012, African rhinoceroses are seen at Bao Son Paradise Park, a private zoo in Hanoi, Vietnam, which has 24-hour security to protect against potential poachers.   (AP Photo/Na Son Nguyen)

(Newser) – Rhinos, tigers, and elephants don't fare so well in Vietnam: The Asian country is the worst when it comes to wildlife crime, says the WWF in its first report on the matter. Rhinos are in danger there because citizens believe the horns have medicinal value; legalized tiger farms also helped push the country to the top of the list. China, which has a huge market for illegal wildlife products, ranked a close second, followed by Laos in third.

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The illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia has been estimated to be worth as much as $10 billion per year, the AP notes. Many of the products are desired for their supposed medicinal value, though doctors say there is none; rhino horn goes for as much there as cocaine does in the US. The WWF report focused on 23 Asian and African countries where the endangered animals live or are traded or used. (Read more Vietnam stories.)

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