The Mekong region is a perfect storm – a source, transit route and final destination for many of the world’s most valuable and threatened wildlife species. This multi-million dollar trade significantly threatens the survival of endangered species including tiger, Asian and African elephant, and all rhino species, as well as pangolins – the most trafficked animal in the world. Illegal wildlife trafficking represents the third-largest illicit trade in the world, with an estimated value of up to $19 billion per year. As a region, Southeast Asia remains among the most critical in terms of severity and volume of wildlife trafficking. Driven by high demand in East Asia for animal products in the form of food, traditional medicine, and decoration, the illegal wildlife trade in Southeast Asia is responsible for approximately 25% of the global industry.
The UK Government and the Luang Prabang Film Festival, in cooperation with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), initiated a short film competition in order to draw attention to this crucial issue for the Mekong region. The jury selected the top three films from the main competition and the top student film to win prizes. The UK Embassies in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam selected one Special Prize-winning film per country, as well. Ten films were also chosen compete on the festival’s Facebook page for the Viral Prize, which was awarded to the film with the most shares over a month-long period.
Children urge their elders to stop hunting the animals they love.
A Lao wildlife photographer shares his unique perspective on illegal wildlife trade.
An eight-year-old boy finds out that his best friend, a baby elephant, faces the risk of poaching.
A Vietnamese student learns about African rhinos and their unfortunate connection to the Mekong Region.
An array of stories explore the wildlife crisis and rescue missions throughout different Cambodian regions.
In a personal note to his father, Phongsavanh asks hunters to consider the detrimental effects of illegal wildlife trade.
A bear in the Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre remembers his unfortunate encounter with illegal wildlife poachers.