Even though the functional forces have taken extreme measures, the issue of trading, storing, transporting, and keeping wild animals in captivity in Nghe An province remains fraught with possible difficulties.
Countless subtle tricks
Nghe An is home to several pristine primeval planks of wood of great conservation and scientific research importance, including Pu Mat National Park, Pu Huong Natural Reserve, Pu Hoat… Nghe An has become a transit area as well as a hub for numerous activities due to its distribution mostly in hilly areas, near the border with Laos, and in the provinces of Ha Tinh and Thanh Hoa. Wild animal trading, transportation, and confinement are all prohibited.
From 2017 to 2022, forest rangers confiscated an average of ten wildlife trafficking cases each year, with about 28,550 individuals of wild animals being traded and transferred unlawfully. Not to add that police and border guards found and detained several persons associated with this business through patrol and control efforts.
The subjects and exhibits were taken in the Con Cuong area during illicit wildlife trafficking. Photographer: Ba Hau
On August 4, 2021, the functional forces raided a tiger breeding facility at a people’s house in the Do Thanh commune (Yen Thanh) region, capturing 17 adult tigers. This occurrence, on March 3, 2022, the People’s Court of Nghe An province condemned Nguyen Van Hien (SN 1982), who lives in Nam Vuc hamlet, Do Thanh commune (Yen Thanh) 7 years in jail due to captivity breeding 14/17 tiger individuals described above.
Most recently, on February 13, 2023, Dien Chau district police prosecuted the case and charged three suspects in connection with the investigation of tiger skin and head trade. Truong Sy Hai, Vu Van Thuong of Dien Lam commune, and Le Tuan Minh of Dien Doai commune are among those charged (Dien Chau). Earlier, on January 1, 2023, the Environmental Police Department (provincial police) worked with the Dien Chau District Police to arrest Nguyen Huu Phong of Huu Kiem commune (Ky Son) for illegally storing and dealing with endangered and uncommon wild animals. At the spot, functional forces collected 6 animals presumed to be pangolins (5 alive, 1 dead), 2.1 kg of pangolin scales, and other evidence.
Providing care for two monkeys bred at the Wildlife Rescue Center (Pu Mat National Park, Con Cuong). Documentary photography
According to competent authorities, the status of illicit wildlife farming in the province has recently improved, although there are still numerous potential issues. Not to mention that, as a result of the harsh crackdown, many subjects have altered their locations and modes of operation to avoid detection by authorities.
One of the “hot” situations is when wildlife merchants and captives use commerce and trade between Laos and Cambodia to return to Vietnam and offer illicit breeding stock. After conveying the breeding stock to the collection site, it will be separated and distributed to the breeding stations located in the basement area of people’s homes. The individuals camouflaged and covered up their conduct while being held in captivity, making identification and management difficult for the functional forces. Subjects frequently refurbish automobiles and weld iron containers to conceal wild animals during transit.
Continue to oversee and punish infractions
According to data, 12,597 individuals of 95 kinds of wild animals are held in captivity in Nghe An at 386 institutions. Although authorities regulate the captive breeding of wild animals, many subjects, particularly rare and valuable wild animals, continue to engage in stealth farming because of the tremendous sources of income.
Authorities apprehended subjects and exhibits in a case involving the movement of wild animals from Nghe An to the north for eating. Photographer: Quynh Trang
According to Article 234, Criminal Code 2015, the offense of breaking wildlife protection legislation including illegal hunting, killing, rearing, confining, storing, transporting, and selling wild animals will be penalized between VND 50 million and VND 3 billion, not to mention condemned to non-custodial reform for up to 3 years and incarceration ranging from 6 months to 12 years, based on the number of unfavorable earnings, primary obtained and scale, the structure of implementation…
According to Mr. Le Dai Thang, Deputy Head of Forest Management and Protection and Nature Conservation Department, Nghe An Forest Protection Department, functional forces have recently reinforced control, inspection, and battle against illicit wildlife trading, transportation, and captivity. Particularly for businesses and restaurants suspected of engaging in wildlife trading operations, they have been notified and signed a pledge not to trade in wild animals.
Moreover, Forest Protection Departments work with local authorities to monitor organizations and homes that raise wild animals in the region once a month. Inspecting cage safety, safeguarding the surrounding environment, and capturing the origin of species entering and departing for management are all part of the process. As a result, discover wild animals brought into farming facilities without legal origin in a timely way and notify the Forest Protection Agency of any changes in raising establishments and species promptly.
Mr. Thang also confessed that the most challenging aspect of inspection and handling is the lack of a sufficient patrol and sweep force. Items hunting and killing wild animals frequently operate at night or early in the morning, so when the functional details are detected, they are unable to apprehend the violators but only capture the exhibits.
Due to conventions and practices, implementation, coordination, and cooperation across agencies, units, and communities in the battle to avoid wildlife management infractions remain challenging. People’s use of wild animal products has not yet ended. Some people continue to use wild creatures as decorative animals, such as birds and animals, generating annoyance in society.
Propaganda in Nghe An against the illicit usage of wild animals. Tien Dong’s photo documentary
Even in Vinh city, the Vinh – Cua Lo Forest Protection Department has received 5 individuals of wild creatures turned up by people in the past, including one long-tailed monkey, one pig-tailed macaque, two tiny lorises, and one Javanica pangolin. Nevertheless, a spokesman of the Vinh – Cua Lo Forest Protection Agency stated that it is now impossible to deal with incidents of arbitrarily breeding birds and animals as pets. In the past, when Decree No. 84/2021/ND-CP dated September 22, 2021, on the management of endangered and rare forest plants and animals and the application of the Convention on International Trade in Flora and Fauna, keeping birds and Animals as Pets was not considered a violation. Nonetheless, under Decree 84, all birds and pets must now be controlled, although there is no transitional provision for those born before this Decree. As a result, some people desire to carry out legal registration processes but are unable to do so since they cannot verify the provenance of the animals…
Consequently, the battle against crime is linked to activities such as hunting, shooting, dealing, stockpiling, and transportation, in addition to inspecting, controlling, arranging propaganda, mobilizing, and making agreements. Illegal transfer and captive breeding of wild animals must be done on a regular and ongoing basis to safeguard all types of wild animals, especially when certain very rare and valuable species are at risk of extinction.