News Brief (E424, July 7, 2011)

Top News

Nearly 200 rhinos killed this year in South Africa
According to an environmental group of WWF, nearly 200 rhinos were killed in South Africa in the first half of 2011, with most slaughtered in the world-famous Kruger National Park (NP). Last year a record showed that 333 rhinos were killed in South Africa which is home to about 70 percent of the world's rhino population.

Poaching is being undertaken almost without exception by sophisticated criminals, sometimes hunting from helicopters and using automatic weapons.
South Africa is making an effort to crackdown on this kind of crime. Authorities have arrested 123 suspected poachers so far this year and have convicted six. However, the stepped-up law enforcement efforts have yet to slow the slaughter of rhinos.
Vietnamese version:

Phu Tho: New damselfly species found at Xuan Son Nation Park
A new damselfly species, the Matrona taoi Phan & Hämäläinen, has recently been found at Xuan Son NP by Vietnamese and Dutch scientists. The result was published in the June 2011 issue of Zootoxa, a mega-journal for zoological taxonomists in the world. This species has been named in dedication to the reptile researcher, Mr. Nguyen Thien Tao.

The Matrona taoi has large dark red wings, thorax and abdomen. The male is iridescent blue and the female is reddish brown, much like the characteristics of the two species M. oreades Hamalainen, Yu & Zhang, 2011 and M. corephaea Hamalainen,Yu & Zhang, 201. However, the male Matrona taoi has transparent wingtips.  The front wings of the female Matrona taoi are transparent and 2 / 3 of the outline of the rear wing, and is more transparent dark red on the bottom of the wing.

This is the 18th species of damselfly to be found in Vietnam. Damselflies are similar to dragonflies, but the adults can be differentiated by the fact that the wings of most damselflies are held parallel to the body when at rest.
Vietnamese version:

New forest skink species found in Vietnam
A new forest skink species of the genus Sphenomorphus, the Sphenomorphus tonkinensis, was found in northern Vietnam and Hainan Island, southern China. The result was published in the second issue of the 2011 Journal of Herpetology. This skink species lives in forests on limestone mountains at altitudes from 80m to 900m above sea level.

The new species is differentiated from others of its kind by the  the following characteristics: size small (SVL 35.8–48.8 mm); prefrontals in contact with each other medially; supralabials seven; primary temporals two; external ear opening present without lobules, tympanum slightly sunk; midbody scales in 32–34 rows; dorsal scales smooth, paravertebral scales 65–72 and not widened; limbs well developed, pentadactyl; 15–19 smooth lamellae under fourth toe; free margins of upper and lower eyelids edged in white; neck, dorsum, and tail base bronze-brown with a discontinuous dark vertebral stripe; upper lateral zone black, interrupted by small light spots from behind the neck.
Vietnamese version:

Martial arts demonstrations used to sell fake drugs from wildlife products
The Phap Luat Ho Chi Minh newspaper reported that according to the public at Hooc Mon district, Ho Chi Minh city, there is a group of people using martial arts demonstrations to advertise and sell fake drugs made with wildlife products, such as python glue and tiger bone glue. However, the reporter learned that these drugs don’t have a legal origin. A doctor warned that advertising and selling drugs is illegal. Drugs made by companies must be registered by the Ministry of Health which then issues permits.  People are warned not to use drugs bought on the street to self-medicate but to seek the advice of a doctor for treatment of their illness.
Vietnamese version:

914 more endangered species listed in IUCN
IUCN has announced that 914 endangered species were listed as IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. More than 19,000 species are classified into one of three levels: almost endangered, endangered and critically endangered.  This is many more than the 8,219 species listed in 2000. Amphibians are the species most threatened.

Scientists believe that we are entering the period of the 6th mass extinction on the earth and this is the first time humans are the main culprits. Without any thought for the future, people are destroying forests and making the impacts of climate change more intense, increasing pollution, wildlife destruction and above all gradually distorting biodiversity in the world.
Vietnamese version:

Dien Bien: Strict punishment for forest destroyer
On June 15, the People's Court of Muong Nhe district, Dien Bien province sentenced a defendant to 42 months in jail plus an administrative fine of 52,480,000 VND.  The sentence was the result of the defendant’s activities destroying the Muong Nhe forest and causing serious consequences.  In addition, the defendant was sentenced to be responsible for replanting the trees until they become forest.
Informed by an officer of Muong Nhe Nature Reserve

Nguyen Bich Ngoc
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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