Local authorities under fire for endangered animals sale
  • By Doan Cuong | dtinews.vn | February 10, 2015 09:27 AM
 >>  Police find 48 dead monkeys, arrest trader

Local authorities in Bac Ninh Province are alleged to have illegally sold 42 rare, endangered pangolins seized in a raid on wildlife traffickers, effectively returning them to the illicit market and raising the hackles of conservationists.

The 42 pangolins were rescued by the National Environmental Police Department and transferred to Tien Phong Forest Protection Unit on February 2 following a raid during which the traffickers escaped.


42 pangolins seized 

The pangolins were identified to be Javan pangolins, an endangered species and listed as legally protected in Group II B. The authorities were unable to determine whether they were raised in captivity or taken from the wild. All the creatures were in poor health and not expected to survive.

The Bac Ninh Forest Protection Department said it passed responsibility up channels and the final authority over the pangolins rested with the Bac Ninh People's Committee, which allegedly decided to sell them because they posed a health and environmental risk if they died in captivity.

As meat, the pangolins weighed a total 102kg, with a market value of about VND1.2m kilogram. The money from the sale was transferred to the Department of Finance.

The Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) said such the sale violated many regulations on the protection of wildlife and undermined laws aimed at deterring and preventing illegal hunters.

The action had turned the authorities into another link in the illegal wildlife trade, the ENV said.

Under Decree No.160, healthy animals must be released back into the wild, those in weak health must be transferred to rescue centres, and dead ones must be given to scientific research institutions or museums. Animals that die or already dead of disease must be safely disposed of. The law stipulates authorities are not permitted to sell seized animals.

News of the incident has angered many members of the public, who believe the authorities are helping illegal traders.

"Even if the pangolins were on the verge of dying, the authorities should not have sold the,," said Dantri reader Huynh Ngoc Tan. "It's like giving the restaurants meat of endangered animals. Restaurants will want more and find ways to buy them."

"This is unacceptable. The authorities' actions are not in accordance with regulations on protecting wildlife. This case must be investigated and prosecuted to prevent similar cases," said Phong, another Dantri reader.

In recent months, police have seized an increasingly large number of wild animals in the central and central highlands regions. On January 23, patrol police in Bac Giang Province stopped a suspicious car and found a piece of rhino horn weighing 358gram, as well as two tiger teeth and 9kg of rare tortoises.

Also in January, environmental police in central Nghe An Province arrested a local man for illegally trading wild and rare animals after a raid that uncovered 48 dead monkeys inside freezers.

The Forest Protection Department says Vietnam is a trafficking hotspot for wild animals and a major transfer point in the global illegal animal trade.

Leave your comment on this story