News Brief (E447, December 15, 2011)
Khanh Hoa: Nha Trang Bay being polluted
Black waste water drains from residential areas, restaurants, and hotels are emptying directly into Nha Trang Bay, Khanh Hoa province, causing serious pollution. In addition, garbage is being disposed of in the environment. According to statistics of the management board of the Nha Trang Bay Marine Reserve, about 10 tonnes of garbage, from people living on the islands, aquaculture cages and tourism or fishing boats, is thrown here every day. Huge capital needs to be invested to rebuild the systems for collecting and treating waste water in Nha Trang. It is very important that local citizens and tourists are made aware of the need to protect the environment in Nha Trang - one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
Hanoi: 15 wagons carrying precious timber seized
On December 14, 15 rail wagons carrying illegally obtained precious timber were seized and sealed under the supervision of Giap Bat Station. Among 400 m3 of timber carried on the wagons, 330 m3 were mainly Dalbergia sp. timber and Pterocarpus sp. timber with the remainder being branches, stumps and roots. The 15 wagons belonged to different trains, from Binh Dinh station to Tu Son Station in Bac Ninh province and were destined for delivery to Dong Ky in Bac Ninh for use there or export to China. It is regarded as the biggest illegal timber trade and transportation with particularly serious status, organized activities and participation of many subjects. However, only the beneficiary in the Bill of ladingis initially identified, the true owner of these shipments is being investigated.
According to Decree 32/2006/ND-CP, both Dalbergia sp. timber and Pterocarpus sp. timber belong to the group IA- group of rare plants prohibited from being exploited, used or traded.
Gia Lai: Kon Ka Kinh forest loss
Kon Ka Kinh National Park has recently experienced a recurrence in illegal exploitation of valuable timber. From the end of October to the beginning of November, illegal removal of timber occurred continuously, with thieves targeting incense wood because demand for this wood is increasing again. More seriously, when the illegal loggers are discovered, they aggressively fight against the authorities. For example, in November, over 20 loggers damaged property, fought against the Forest Protection Department (FPD) officer and stole personal property and 100 kg of precious wood being kept as material evidence.
Discovering a new species every two days in the Greater Mekong
On December 12, the “Wild Mekong” report was published with descriptions of more than 208 species discovered in the Greater Mekong in 2010, including some living in Vietnam. Among 208 new species, there are 145 plant species, 28 reptile species, 25 kinds of fish, 7 species of amphibians, two species of mammals and one kind of bird. One of the remarkable animals is a tockay with bright orange legs, yellow neck, blue-gray and yellow striped body discovered to be living in Hon Khoai, Ca Mau. Another type of all-female lizard (Leiolepis ngovantrii) whichexists by asexual reproduction was also found in Vietnam.
According to a representative of Mekong Conservation, these species are new discoveries in science; however, many are facing extinction due to human activities.
Ho Chi Minh City: Farming “unique” animals on the rise
Salamanders, monitor lizards, snakes and spiders are becoming popular pets for young people, especially in Ho Chi Minh City. According to a member of a large forum for “unique” animals in Vietnam, there are approximately 7,000 members in the forum with 500 regular members. It is known that the reptiles are illegally imported into Vietnam from other countries, especially from Thailand. These alien species may threaten the habitats of domestic species if they escape into the environment, just as the red eared slider turtle has.
Hanoi: A two-year old child loses his hand to illegally farmed bear
On December 2, a bear which was being illegally farmed by a resident in Gia Lam district, Hanoi grabbed a hand of his two-year old grandson causing the child to lose his hand. It is known that the subject bought this bear from an ethnic minority person 14 years ago in Yen Vien Station, Gia Lam district. The subject kept the bear for display, but sometimes he also conducted bear bile extractions for his own use and to sell. Because of poor living conditions, inappropriate foods, and substandard hygiene over a long time, the bear attacked the child as he approached the cage. On December 3, when the authorities came to his house, the bear had been killed and nothing was left except for its cage. The subject was warned and required to make a commitment not to farm bears illegally any more. This accident is a painful lesson to all people to consider the costs of bear farming in Vietnam.
(Case Ref. 3868/ENV)
The North: Over a tonne of pangolins seized
From the beginning of December, authorities have been continuously discovering pangolin smuggling operations and confiscated unprecedented quantities with total weight of over a tonne. On December 8, the Economic Crime Investigation Police Department in Hai Duong province stopped a car carrying 160 pangolins weighing about 400 kg in Chi Linh town. On December 11, Environmental Police in Ha Tinh seized a car carrying 108 pangolins with total weight of 474 kg in Duc Tho ward. And on December 13, the Environmental Crime Prevention Police Department along with a police team investigating economic, drug, and environmental crimes in Phu Xuyen district stopped a car on Phap Van - Cau Gie Highways and confiscated 56 pangolins weighing 254 kg. In all cases, the subjects used luxurious cars with fake registration plates, many of which belonged to state vehicles. This tactic helped avoid detection by authorities for a long time. All the pangolins have been solved according to regulations, and the subjects are under further investigation.
Pangolins belong to group IIB of Decree 32/2006/ND-CP – the group of rare animals restricted from being held in captivity, hunted, traded or killed.
(Case Ref. 3866, 3867, 3869/ENV)
The South: Propaganda program for wildlife protection
From 11 to 27 December, ENV is organizing a series of activities to raise the awareness about wildlife protection in some large provinces such as Lam Dong, Dong Nai and Binh Duong.
Da Lat city: On 15 and 16 December, activities include a wildlife exhibition at Da Lat University, workshop about wildlife protection, volunteer recruitment, and other monitoring and investigating activities. At this time, Da Lat Flower Festival is also taking place, which attracts many tourists. This represents a good opportunity for ENV to promote wildlife protection.
Binh Duong: from 18 to 21 December, activities such as wildlife exhibitions in public locations, a bear exhibition in a university, volunteer recruitment and training, a workshop about wildlife protection in a university and surveys on the status of wildlife crime will be conducted.
Dong Nai: from 21 to 23 December, ENV continues to organize a wildlife exhibition, bear exhibition and workshop about wildlife protection in a university.
Tran Thi Duyen
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)