VIENTIANE, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Laos is stepping up its efforts to end illegal wildlife trade after the signing of Cooperative Action to Stop Illegal Wildlife Trade project.
The agreement was signed by Khamphout Phandanouvong, director general of the Department of Forest Inspection under Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and Christopher Holmes, director of Conservation Initiatives for the Mekong Region in the Lao capital, local media reported Thursday.
The five-year project costs over 830,000 U.S. dollars and will be implemented in the provinces of Vientiane, Bolikhamxay, Khammuanne, Savannakhet and Champasak.
According to a recent report from the Department of Forest Inspection, wildlife is traded illegally for various reasons, including human consumption, keeping as pets, used as ingredients in traditional medicine, and releasing during festivals.
At present, many animal species in Laos face a high risk of extinction because they are over-exploited in poor, rural areas. These species are generally hunted and killed for sale to individuals and restaurants.
The authorities continue to encourage restaurants and international border checkpoints to assist in enforcing control measures to prevent the illegal trade of protected species.
Since 2002, Wildlife Conservation Society in Laos has worked with various ministries and development partners to patrol markets and restaurants in search of people involved in the illegal trade. Many seizures have been made in many localities.