New Allies Fighting for Peace – for Wildlife

Operation Game Change, Vietnam

USA, Vietnam and South Africa Join Hands to Stop Wildlife Trafficking

Operation Game Change, Vietnam

USA, Vietnam and South Africa are collaborating on Operation Game Change to stop illegal wildlife trade.

Hanoi, November 6, 2015 -This Sunday, November 8th in Hanoi, the Governments of the United States of America, Vietnam and South Africa will unite against a new common enemy: wildlife crime.  Now a billion dollar black market industry, the illicit trade in endangered animals is driven by organized crime and corruption.  The United States, one of the world’s largest importers of wildlife, is collaborating with the Government of Vietnam – another major wildlife consumer – South Africa, and Freeland to execute “Operation Game Change“, which will be unveiled on Sunday.  “OGC” is a public-private sector initiative designed to reduce poaching of endangered wild animals, such as South Africa’s rhinos, by bringing range and consumer countries together to stop the cross-border illegal wildlife trade.  The U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam will join senior Vietnamese and South African officials to confirm their commitments to Operation Game Change.

Pledges will be followed by a national concert and wildlife film festival inside a renowned UNESCO World Heritage site.

Cooperation among the three governments and civil society organizations has already begun in the lead up to Sunday’s large event.  Last week the U.S. Government, Freeland and Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security held their first joint police training course on combating wildlife crime.  Vietnam’s Northern Airport Authority has also joined the program, training its ground staff to identify and report signs of wildlife smuggling, while VietJet Air, a sponsor of OGC, will paint a commercial airliner with the theme of wild animals.  Freeland and Vietnam NGO Education for Nature-Vietnam, together with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development have also teamed up to produce and launch internet, television and billboard public service announcements that feature Vietnamese government officials and celebrities, appealing to the public to stop buying endangered wildlife.

Sunday’s Hanoi event will take place at Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, 19C Hoang Dieu.  Gates open at 4pm.  The event will run from 6pm – 9pm.  For more information visit: wildfest.org

For more information and photos, please contact:
Matthew Pritchett, Director of Communications, Freeland, matthew@freeland.org
+66 2 254 8321 ext 121

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