Long An: 100 rare giant catfish found in Vietnam
Around 100 Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodongigas) have been found in southern Vietnam's Long An province, in the Mekong Delta. They are believed to have moved to the area in floodwaters coming from the upper Mekong River. After examining shapes and weights of the catfish caught and held in the Lang Sen conservation area, on November 28, experts confirmed that they are classified as Mekong giant catfish (a species which is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List). This catfish is in danger of extinction due to overfishing and a decrease in water quality resulting from development and upstream damming. Local experts said the appearance of the fish is good news for the preservation of Vietnam’s biological diversity.
Indonesia and Vietnam sign deal on combating illegal wildlife trade
Indonesia and Vietnam have agreed to increase co-operation in preventing wildlife trafficking at the second bilateral dialogue in Bali on Friday, November 25. Director General of the Forest Protection and Nature Conservation of the Indonesian Forestry Ministry said the two sides exchanged information on law enforcement, particularly regulations relating to the illegal trade in wildlife and timber. Both sides accepted a memorandum of understanding on law enforcement, raising public awareness about the issues and human resource training.
Ho Chi Minh City: Wild animals sold on streets
Many wild animals are sold on certain streets and districts in Ho Chi Minh City to meet the demand of those wanting to show their status by possessing wildlife. For a long time, rare birds such as eagles and falcons have been sold in District 10. It is said that many of these birds have recently been hunted in Dak Lak Forest. In addition, wild snakes are also available such as king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah) and Chinese cobra (Naja atra) not only in Ho Chi Minh City, but also in other eastern provinces. According to the Forest Protection Department of Ho Chi Minh City, this year they’ve handled 42 cases relating to trade, hunting and transportation of wildlife. The authorities find it difficult to track down the people making these illegal sales because of their increasingly sophisticated methods.
70% of industrial parks discharge wastewater directly into the environment
According to the Environmental Police Department (EPD), environmental violations by industry are serious and widespread. In most cases, however, the handling of these violations is faced with many difficulties. The results of a report by EPD show that there are 1,250 industrial parks in Vietnam, of which over 70% discharge wastewater directly into the environment. The consequences are serious pollution of the water sources, especially in river basins of the Dong Nai River, Cau River, Nhue River and Day River. Solid waste from industrial parks is growing in volume, with a range of toxicity levels (hazardous waste accounted for 20% of industrial waste). But the rate of collection, classification and proper handling techniques for industrial waste are poor. In addition, the report also mentioned the serious status of environmental pollution in urban areas, the mineral sector, health-care fields and the forest sector.
18,400 environment violation cases solved
In the past five years, the EPD has discovered and dealt with 18,400 environmental violation cases. They have collected 196 billion VND from administrative fines and handled 533 criminal cases involving 834 subjects. It can be seen that the rate of punishment is still very low. Although there are many rules and laws relating to protection of the environment, their implementation and application is still inadequate.
Hanoi: “Vietnamese Forest” photo exhibition
From November 27 to December 3, the “Vietnamese Forest” photo exhibition has been organized to take place at Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. It will include 80 excellent pictures selected from the “Vietnamese Forest” photo contest in response to the UN’s International Year of the Forest 2011. This exhibition introduces the beauty of forests, diversified forest flora and fauna, human activities affecting the forest, as well as the protection and development of forests, all with the aim of raising awareness of people of the need to protect forests and biodiversity in Vietnam. The photo contest attracted 256 photographers coming from 48 provinces, with 1,572 single photos and 114 group photos. The first prize was awarded to “The rehearsal of forest fire protection”.
Peninsula hotel group in Hong Kong strikes shark fin off menu
One of Asia’s most prestigious hotel chains has announced that it will stop selling shark fin from January, 2012, in a move hailed as an historic breakthrough by campaigners to protect these threatened predators. They hope that their decision will contribute towards preserving marine ecosystems and inspire other hospitality companies to do the same.
Environmental activists have long campaigned for governments to ban or severely restrict the sale of shark fin – commonly used in soup -- which is regarded as an important status symbol for hosts wanting to demonstrate their wealth in Chinese banquets. According to recent research, the consumption of shark fins is a driving factor behind the current threat to shark populations, with more than 180 species considered threatened in 2010, compared to only 15 in 1996. About 73 million sharks are killed every year in the world, with half of the fins (around 10,000 tons) imported by Hong Kong. Therefore, the decision is regarded as an historical turning point in the shark preservation campaign.
Hoang Hue Linh
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)