Published 21 March 2011

180 kg of wildlife seized in Central Viet Nam

Viet Nam, 21st March 2011—Responding to local reports, Environmental Police officers in Viet Nam’s northern Nghe An Province have confiscated nearly 180 kg of wild animals from a car with Lao PDR plates.

The seizure on 7th March included 173 turtles weighing 152 kg, among them 8 Big-headed Turtles Platysternon megacephalum which is listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and is classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

The haul also included two porcupines (16.5 kg) and two monitor lizards (9 kg).

According to Dan Tri newspaper, the driver, a Vietnamese national from the neighbouring province of Ha Tinh, confessed to transporting the animals from Lao PDR to be eaten in Nghe An Province.

The case has been transferred to the provincial Forest Protection Department.

Nghe An Province is located in north-central Viet Nam on the border with Lao PDR. It is also the site of an increasing number of wildlife seizures, often as wildlife from Lao PDR is transported to major cities and markets in Viet Nam.

Vietnamese officials are increasingly cracking down on the illegal trade in wild animals.

Last week the Viet Nam National Administration of Tourism issued an instruction that could potentially rescind the international travel business licenses of travel agencies that organize tours to bear farms where bears are illegally kept and bile is extracted.

Although illegal, tours to bear farms for bear bile extraction are popular, especially among Asian tourists. Thousands of bears are known to be kept in enclosures on “bear farms” for the extraction of bile.