News Brief (E413,April 21, 2011)
Vietnamese rhino horn trade revealed
A documentary on the rhino horn trade, hosted by Dan Rather in his weekly news television show, will be screened in the USA and Canada in April. It reveals the extent of the rhino horn trade to Vietnam and how it is fuelling a rhino poaching crisis in southern Africa. In the documentary experts also warn that Vietnamese have been misled into spending huge amounts of money on buying powdered rhino horn. This is due to the mistaken belief that rhino horn has the ability to cure cancer, a theory which lacks substance.
The documentary also explains how the abuse of rhino trophy hunting quotas in South Africa, by Vietnamese visitors, has led to strict revisions in the country’s law.
Between 2000 and 2007, South Africa averaged about 12 rhino poached per year. In 2008 the figure reached 78 and by 2010 it was an unprecedented 333. Already this year, more than 80 rhino have been poached.
Hanoi: Ecotourism park discovered keeping wild animals
According to An ninh Thu do online newspaper, on April 13, Hanoi Environmental Police in cooperation with Long Bien district police investigated an ecotourism park and discovered a large number of wild animals, including an asian golden cat (Catopuma temminckii), four green peafowl (Pavo muticus), three common pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), a silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera) and two other pheasants. All these animals had been kept illegally at the park. The animals belong to the Government Decree 32/2006/ND-CP, dated 30th March 2006, on Management of Endangered, Precious and Rare Species of Wild Plants and Animals. At the time of investigation the owner of the park could not produce permits showing the animals were of legal origin and registered. In accordance with the law, the animals were transferred to Soc Son Rescue Center. The case is under investigation by authorities.
Ivory seized from Quang Ninh warehouse
The Dantri online newspaper reported, on April 18, police in the northern Quang Ninh province seized a large quantity of suspected tusks and pieces packed in sacks and covered by soy beans. Investigations concluded that in total 122 tusks weighing 300 kilograms were found at the warehouse of Hung Vuong Limited, a company based in Mong Cai City.
The warehouse manager confessed to police he rented the space out to a stranger in Hai Phong for VND 5 million. The police are still investigating the case.
Ivory trade results in the loss of about 60,000 elephants each year and activists warn of extinction by the year 2020 without serious enforcement of a worldwide ban on the ivory trade.
Quang Nam: New reserve for saola
On April 15, the central province of Quang Nam announced it will establish a conservation zone for saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), a wildlife species that lives along the border between Vietnam and Laos and is in danger of extinction. This is the second saola conservation zone in Vietnam. The first zone is located at the Bach Ma National Park (NP) in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue.
In Vietnam, saola was first discovered in the central province of Ha Tinh in 1992 and is now listed in the Vietnam Red Book of endangered species due to a rapid decrease in its population. According to scientists, the number of saola in Vietnam and Laos ranges from ten to 100.
Establishment of Phu My’s Nature Reserve
The People’s Committee of Kien Giang province has just announced it will establish the Phu My’s Nature Reserve with a total acreage of 3.27 hectares including the buffer zone of the project, “Sustainable exploitation of grassland combined with the conservation of local crafts” in Phu My commune, a part of Hang Bun’s conservation area and another part of Lung Lon’s conservation area.
The establishment of Phu My’s nature reserve and the project, “Sustainable exploitation of grassland combined with the conservation of local crafts” help to maintain stability of the ecological environment, especially the food source for the Sarus crane (Grus antigone), an endangered crane listed in Vietnam’s and the IUCN’s Red List,in this area.
Ba Ria – Vung Tau: Illegal transportation of sea turtles
According to VnExpress online newspaper, on April 19, the Traffic Police in Ba Ria – Vung tau province stopped a van and discovered 18 green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) weighing 279 kg. Of the 18 turtles found, 12 were dead and the remaining 6 still alive. An initial investigation showed the driver had been hired by a man in Ho Chi Minh City to transport the turtles to Vung Tau city for selling. Authorities released the six live turtles into the sea and transferred the dead turtles to be destroyed.
Green sea turtle is a rare and endangered turtle listed in Decree 59/2005/ND-CP May 4, 2005 on condition for a number of aquatic resource production and business line.
Quang Tri: Hawksbill sea turtle released into the sea
On April 17, a Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), weighing about 15 kg, was released into the sea as a result of collaboration between the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Fishery Resource Exploitation and Management Department of Quang Tri province. After receiving the tip from a local fisherman who had caught the turtle in Con Co Island, the Quang Tri authorities immediately confiscated and tagged the turtle before releasing it into the sea.
On April 20, another Hawksbill sea turtle, weighing about 8 to 10 kg, was released into the sea by the Quang Tri’s authorities. Previously, a local resident informed the authorities about this case, the authorities called the fisherman, who had caught the turtle, to persuade him voluntarily to transfer in order to release the turtle into the sea.
Hawksbill sea turtle is a rare and endangered turtle listed in Decree 59/2005/ND-CP.
Hanoi: King cobras transported by motorbike for selling
According to An ninh Thu do online newspaper, on April 16, Hanoi authorities stopped a motorbike and discovered a carton containing six cobras, one of which was a king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) weighing about 1.4 kg. At the time of investigation, the owner of the cobras could not produce permits showing that the animals were of legal origin and registered. He admitted that he had purchased them in Hanoi suburb for selling. The cobras have been transferred to Soc Son Rescue Center and the case is under investigation by authorities.
King cobra belongs to group IB of Decree 32/ND-CP - the group of rare wild animals forbidden to be exploited or used for commercial purposes.
Ho Chi Minh City: 16 year jail term for smuggling rare wood
Youth online newspaper reported on April 19, a major wood trader was sentenced to 16 years in jail for smuggling rare wood. For the same crime, four other defendants were given sentences ranging from 4 to 13 years in prison.
In addition, two other defendants were given sentences ranging from 12 to 18 months’ probation for violations of regulations on forest protection and exploitation.
The Trial Council concluded that from December 2006 to June 2007, the major wood trader organized to collect and smuggle to China more than 1.7 billion m3 of rare Dalbergia cochinchinensis and Dalbergia oliverrii without the legal origin of the wood. The wood was valued at approximately 26 billion VND.
New dragonfly species for Vietnam
A new dragonfly species, Aethriamanta aethra, was discovered for the first time in Vietnam in the wetland habitats of U Minh Thuong NP. The discovery was made by the conservation organization, Wildlife At Risk (WAR). The new species of dragonfly does not have an English name but in Vietnamese it has been named “Chuồn chuồn tràm”.
Previously this species was recorded in other countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. This discovery suggests that more dragonfly species in the southern wetland are yet to be discovered. Conservationists plan to conduct further surveys in order to initiate an appropriate strategy for the conservation of wetland biodiversity and in particular dragonfly conservation.
Nguyen Bich Ngoc
Education for Nature - Vietnam
No. 5 Ngo 192 Thai Thinh
PO Box 222
Dong Da district
Phone/fax: +84 4 3514-8850
www.savingvietnamswildlife.org (English wildlife trade website)