ENV Wildlife Protection Law Resource Center
I – International Law:
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international treaty that regulates the trade of endangered wildlife between countries to avoid over-exploitation that could lead to extinction. It does not regulate any forms of domestic trade. CITES includes about 5000 species of animals and 25,000 species of plants, divided into three appendices, meaning that their trade is regulated through a standardized permit system:
- Appendix I includes endangered species that are threatened with extinction. Trade and exchange of these species requires an export license and import license issued by the CITES Management Authority of both the exporting and importing countries.
- Appendix II includes vulnerable species that could become extinct with uncontrolled exploitation. Trade in these species between countries requires an export license issued by the CITES Management Authority of the exporting country.
- Appendix III includes species that are protected from exploitation in at least one member country, and needs the cooperation of other member states to control the trade. Trade in these species requires an export license issued by CITES Management Authority of the exporting country.
II – National Law
1. Penal Code (1999)
The Penal Code No. 15/1999/QH10 with Article 190 on Breaching Regulations on the Protection of Precious and Rare Wildlife on the List of Endangered, Precious, and Rare Species Prioritized for Protection. Accordingly, the acts of hunting, killing, transporting and smuggling of precious and rare wild animals are prohibited under the provisions of the Government, and transportation and illegal trade of animal products may result in a maximum penalty of 50 million VND fine, or a sentence of three years prison.
2. Law amending and supplementing a number of articles of Penal Code (2009)
This law came into effect from 1st January, 2010 and Article 190 was amended to ‘Breaching Regulations on the Protection of Precious and Rare Wildlife on the List of Endangered, Precious and Rare Species Prioritized for Protection’. Accordingly, the law adds the raising and keeping acts, and transportation and illegal trade in body parts of the species on the list of endangered, precious, and rare species prioritized for protection. The maximum penalty increased to 500 million VND fine or seven years in prison.
3. Law on Forest Protection and Development (2004)
All species of wild animals are afforded some level of protection under the Law on Forest Protection and Development, which came into effect from 1st April, 2005. Accordingly, it’s illegal to hunt, transport, keep, advertise, sell, purchase and consume wildlife without an appropriate permit issued by the Forest Protection Department to show that the animal was of legal origin.
4. Law on Biodiversity (2008)
The Law on Biodiversity of the XII National Assembly of Vietnam, No. 20/2008/QH12 of 13th November, 2008. This law has a dedicated fourth chapter with 18 regulations on conservation and sustainable development of species. Accordingly, wild animals will be considered for inclusion in the list of endangered, precious and rare species prioritized for protection to protect endemic species, species threatened with extinction, species that are prohibited from exploitation, and wild species that need protection from exploitation in natural conditions. The law also provides for protected areas, conservation areas and prohibited activities in protected areas.
This law came into effect from 1st July, 2009.
5. Decree 32/2006/ND-CP dated 30th March 2006 by the Government on the management of endangered, precious, and rare forest fauna and flora species.
Decree 32 is Vietnam’s primary wildlife protection decree. According to this decree, it is illegal to hunt, transport, keep, advertise, sell, purchase and consume rare and endangered species or their parts and derivatives.
The Decree has grouped endangered, precious and rare animals into two groups:
- Group IB: Includes endangered and critically endangered species. The exploitation and use of these species for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited. A permit is required for scientific research and conservation purposes of these species.
- Group IIB: Includes threatened and rare species. A permit is required for all purposes including scientific research, conservation and commercial exploitation of these species.
6. Decree 82/2006/ND-CP dated 10th August 2006 by the Government on the management of export, import, re-export and introduction from the sea, transit, breeding, rearing and artificial propagation of endangered, precious and rare wild animals and plants.
The decree stipulates the specific procedures relating to the export, import, re-export and introduction from the sea, transit, breeding, rearing and artificial propagation of animals and plants (including hybrids) of endangered, precious and rare species, including:
- Specimens of wild animals and plants specified in Appendices I, II and III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- Specimens of endangered, precious and rare wild animals and plants, as prescribed by Vietnamese law
7. Decree 99/2009/ND-CP dated 2nd November 2009 by the Government on settlement of administrative violations in forest management, and protection and management of forest products
This Decree is a document that assigns levels of treatment for violations related to the protection of wildlife. Accordingly, based on the nature and extent of danger of the violation, there are a range of fines from 500,000 to 500 million VND.
8. Joint Circular No. 19/2007/TTLT/BNN&PTNT-BTP-BCA-VKSNDTC-TANDTC dated 8th March 2007 on Guiding the Application of the Penal Code in Forest Management, Protection and Management of Forest Products
This Joint Circular guides the implementation of Article 190 of the Penal Code 1999 on Breaching the Regulations on the Protection of Precious and Rare Wildlife. It relates to the species of precious and rare animals included in Group IB of Decree 32/2006/ND-CP. It guides the evaluation of the specific level of a violation so as to apply an appropriate and reasonable punishment. The Circular issued an Appendix on the determination of the number of individual animals from the endangered, precious, and rare species list and Group IB as a basis for determination. For example, for violations relating to bears, an incident involving one bear has serious consequences, two to three bears have very serious consequences, and four bears have particularly serious consequences; however an incident involving just one tiger has particularly serious consequences.
9. Circular 90/2008/TT-BNN dated 28th August 2008 by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on guiding the handling of wild animals after confiscation
Wild animals that are confiscated from illegal activities must be handled according to the order specified in this circular, based on the level of endangered and rare grouping (IB, IIB, Appendix I of CITES, Appendix II of CITES, or common wild animals).
The handling is also based on the status of the animals: alive, dead, in parts, domestic or introduced species.
For example, a live, domestic animal belonging to Group IB, would be processed in the following order: (i) Release to the wild; (ii) Transfer to an animal rescue center if injured, sick or weak; (iii) Transfer to scientific research institution (including breeding research facility) for environmental education; (iv) Sale to zoos, performing arts organizations, or any legal animal breeding facilities; (v) Destruction of animals carrying diseases or that cannot be handled by the above measures.
For cases where the animal is dead or in parts, and belonging to Group IB: (i) Transfer to a scientific institution, training institution, environmental education institution, specialized museum, specialized management agency, or to a medical facility for research or to make medicine (ii) Destruction of the body/parts in cases of infection or where it cannot be handled by the above measures.
10. Circular 47/2012/TT-BNNPTNT dated 25th September 2012 by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on regulating the management of the exploitation and farming of common wildlife species
On 25th September 2012, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development issued Circular 47/2012/TT-BNNPTNT on the management and exploitation of common wildlife species. This circular lists 160 species of common forest animals for which exploitation and farming are permitted for commercial purposes, according to the provisions set out in this Circular.
11. Decision 02/2005/QD-BNN dated 5th January 2005 by Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on stipulating the Regulation of captive bear management
In 2005, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development issued the Decision to manage bears in captivity. This Decision aims to manage the number of bears in captivity and prevent the introduction of new bears caught in the wild.
The Decision also states that the cut-off for registration of captive bears was 28th February 2005. From 1st March 2005 onwards, any unregistered bears will be treated as new, illegally farmed bears and will be dealt with according to the regulations of the law.
12. Decision 95/2008/QD-BNN dated 28th August 2008 on stipulating the Regulation of captive bears management
This Decision contains provisions on housing conditions, hygiene, veterinary and other conditions for registered bear farms. It also prohibits the acts of hunting, trapping, purchase, sale, slaughter, transport, advertising, export, import, and temporary import for re-export of bears and bear products derived contrary from the provisions of the law.
III - Reference Documents
IUCN guidelines for the placement of confiscated animals
These are the guidelines of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on the handling of live wild animals after confiscation, for the purposes of conservation.
Accordingly, there are several solutions:
1) To maintain the animals in captivity for the remainder of their natural lives
2) To return the animals to the wild;
3) To euthanize the animals, i.e. humanely destroy them
The guidelines also describe processing and handling rules, decision-tree analysis to evaluate the application of a solution to the current regulations, customs and economic conditions while ensuring the conservation of the species.