News Brief (E429, August 11, 2011)
Increase in blatant wildlife leather trade
Wildlife products are currently being blatantly sold on the streets, especially leather and skin products. These products are regarded as luxury items and buyers will pay hundreds of million Vietnamese dong to own the products. Many of the leather and skin items being sold on the market are fake products from illegal sellers. Many ‘unique’ leathers and skins are being transported from abroad into Vietnam by smugglers in response to demand. Most of the wildlife products are made from tiger, langur and leopard; endangered species protected by law.
Quang Binh: Sea lion caught off central coast
On August 4, a fisherman in Quang Binh province caught a sea lion weighing nearly 20 kg and measuring 0.9m in length in Hon La bay. After being informed of the capture of the sea lion, Quang Binh’s Department of Fishery Resource Exploitation and Protection persuaded the fisherman to release it. It will be transferred to Nha Trang Oceanography Institute within the next few days.
This is the first time a sea lion has been found by a fisherman in Quang Binh because this animal only lives in temperate waters.
(Case ref 3623/ ENV)
South Africa sentences Vietnamese rhino horn smugglers
On 4th August, a court in South Africa handed down long prison sentences to two Vietnamese men convicted of smuggling rhino horns. One of the men was sentenced to 12 years in prison and the other received 8 years. The men were arrested at Johannesburg airport in June 2010 carrying 20 rhino horns.
So far this year 227 rhinos and 15 alleged poachers have been killed in South Africa. Another 131 suspects have been arrested as the price of rhino horn surpasses the price of gold. Most of the rhino horn is destined for China and Vietnam to be used in traditional medicine, even though scientists say it has no medicinal value.
Oldest living animal: 178-year-old tortoise sets world record
A picture taken during the Boer War, around 1900, helps to mark Jonathan the turtle as the oldest living animal. According to records, a giant land tortoise was the sole survivor of three tortoises that arrived on the South Atlantic island of St Helena, UK in 1882. Jonathan was about 50 years old when the photo was taken on St Helena making the tortoise at least 178 yrs old and thus setting the world record for the oldest living animal.
Jonathan is now 178 years old, still very active despite his age. A giant Galapagos called Harriet was previously thought to be the oldest in the world at 178 years of age.
Nguyen Phuong Lien
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)