News Brief (E378, 13 August, 2010)

Top News

Hanoi: Mysterious death of circus elephant raises questions
The death of Kham Bun the elephant surprised everyone close to him when he was found dead on August 12. Kham Bun had been given to the Vietnamese Circus Association (VCA) as a gift by the Prime Minister. A woman who took care of Kham Bun everyday and fed him his last meal the morning before he died confirmed that he had a healthy appetite and there were no signs that he would die the next day. Kham Bun’s death has raised the question of a cover-up regarding the elephant’s health and responsibility for his care, and if this is not the case, why were journalists prevented from visiting him the day before he died? Calls are being made for a supervisory board for the care of performing animals to be established in Vietnam as soon as possible.
On August 13, scientists from the Vietnam National Museum of Nature said that Kham Bun’s hide will be stuffed and preserved, and displayed along with his skeleton at the museum.
(Vietnamese version)
Kham Bun truoc khi qua doi
Kham Bun "hon thac xac con"

Hanoi: King cobra illegal transportation case
On August 10, the Hanoi Environmental Police (EP) transferred three king cobras (Ophiophagus hanna) weighing a total of 11kg to the Soc Son Wildlife Rescue Centre. The Hanoi EP and mobile traffic police from Tu Liem district had intercepted two men from Vinh Phuc province transporting five cobras, including three King cobras, the previous day. The two offenders confessed to transporting the cobras for consumption. Police are continuing with their investigation.
(Vietnamese version)
Van chuyen 11kg ran ho mang chua

Dak Nong: Woman prosecuted for illegal trade of rare wildlife
On August 8, police reported the commencement of proceedings against a local resident, Van Thi Dieu Thanh, for violating regulations concerning the protection of rare animals. Thanh had been caught with six macaques (unidentified), two leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis), two cobras (unidentified), one civet (unidentified) andone bamboo rat.

Dong Nai: Suspects arrested for deforestation in Cat Tien National Park
On August 5, Tan Phu district police placed a local man in temporary custody for violating forest protection regulations. According to an investigative body, in April this year, forest rangers from Cat Tien National Park caught two men illegally transporting timber from the park. During the investigation, the ringleader and three others came to the attention of authorities. A total of seven people involved in the case were later arrested.
(Vietnamese version)
Bat giu bay nghi can pha rung quoc gia Cat Tien

Yen Bai: Car owned by film studio involved in timber case
On August 8, rangers from the Nghia Lo Forest Protection Department (FPD) seized a car transporting over 2m3 of rare and precious timber. According to the FPD, the car was owned by the Vietnamese Feature Film Studio (VFFS). At the FPD office, a man introduced himself as cameraman from VFFS and told authorities that he owned the timber and had bought it from locals to use in a film production.
(Vietnamese version)
Tam giu xe o to cua Hang Phim truyen cho go pomu trai phep

Gia Lai: Illegally logged timber case not being taken seriously
At the end of July, the Kong Chro FPD reported seizing nearly 20m3 of timber exploited by poachers from a forest area managed by the Yang Nam commune People’s Committee. However, on August 3, unaccounted for pieces of timber remained in the forest area, apparently ignored by authorities. The local community is asking if the Kong Chro FPD is taking the case seriously enough and wondering why the FPD is not using the full force of the law. According to regulations, organizations or individuals found to be illegally exploiting 20m3 or more of timber are criminally liable and are to receive an administrative fine.
(Vietnamese version)
Gia Lai: Mot vu xu ly khai thac go trai phep day nghi van

Quang Ngai: Black coral extirpated by fisherman for art
Recently, the use of black coral (Kings coral) as a fine arts material has increased its’ price to over three million VND per kilo. As a result, fishermen from Ly Son Island go out to sea everyday with their fishing equipment, along with a saw, hammer and chisel to remove the black coral, ignoring state prohibitions and their personal safety. According to the Institute of Oceanography in Nha Trang, there is a total of 1,122km of coral reefs in the Vietnamese sea. In recent years, over 50 tons of coral is estimated as being exploited annually, threatening the continued existence of coral in the Vietnamese sea. If the situation continues, in the next 20 years there will be no coral left. Once this ecosystem disappears, no shrimp or fish will remain either.
(Vietnamese version)
San ho den truoc luoi riu lam tac

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Phan Thi Thuy Trinh
Communications officer
Education for Nature - Vietnam
No. 5 Ngo 192 Thai Thinh
PO Box 222
Dong Da district
Hanoi, Vietnam
Phone/fax: +84 4 3514-8850
E-mail: (English) (Vietnamese) (English wildlife trade website)





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