Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam

by ENV Wildlife Conservation Trust
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Help End the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Vietnam
Two long-tailed macaques confiscated, Nov 2022
Two long-tailed macaques confiscated, Nov 2022

ENV has continued to see measurable progress towards ending Vietnam’s illegal wildlife trade since this vital campaign started in December 2020. Two years on, from January 2021 to September 2022, we have handled 6,303 wildlife crime cases, including 319 trafficking cases, 4,469 retail selling and advertising cases, and 1,549 cases involving illegal possession of wildlife.

In total, there have been more than 3,050 live wild animals confiscated and transferred out of the illegal wildlife trade in the same period, to be safely rehomed to a rescue center or released back into the wild. The species included 321 macaques, 48 Asiatic black bears, and 36 tigers, amongst hundreds of other species.

In November 2022, our Wildlife Crime Unit was especially busy with success cases, with there being more than 270 live wild animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade! We look forward to sharing the stats for the full year as 2022 comes to its end.

The movement to end the exploitation and trade of wild animals is a cumulative effort, with every success leading us closer to eradicating the illegal wildlife trade. Twenty years ago, we didn’t have the strong actions we see today from both law enforcement agencies and the public in protecting wildlife. With sustained and consistent efforts, we will continue to make progress to realize a Vietnam where wildlife protection is the norm. On the road to get there, we will continue to update you on recent news from the field.

Some key cases in the third quarter of 2022:

  • Following ENV’s information, Hanoi Environment Police confiscated two rhino horn pieces, weighing more than 2 kg in total. Two men were arrested, and police later searched one of the subjects' houses, finding more pieces of rhino horn. A third subject involved in the case was later arrested.
  • 215 birds were seized from an online trader in Ca Mau, following a report to the ENV Wildlife Crime Hotline. The species included 128 spotted doves, 64 white-breasted waterhens, 19 Eurasian moorhens, and four greater coucals. The subject was fined VND 11,250,000 for advertising and keeping wildlife.
  • ENV received a report from a member of the public about an online trader who was advertising pangolin scales on Facebook. After further investigation, police successfully confiscated 250 g of pangolin scales from the subject.
  • Police raided two separate apartments and seized a total of 123 wine bottles containing wildlife such as common cobras, tokays, Chinese cobras, many-banded kraits, greater coucals, deer, water monitors, banded kraits, common rat snakes, and Indochinese rat snakes. Two subjects were arrested.
  • An Asiatic black bear was confiscated from a house in Truc Ninh district by authorities following a report to the ENV Wildlife Crime Hotline. The bear had been in captivity for more than 17 years before being reported. It was subsequently transferred to Vietnam Bear Rescue Center.
  • Cao Bang authorities inspected a truck and seized 14 live macaques. The truck driver claimed to have been hired to transport the macaques from Cao Bang to Hanoi.
  • 12 live rhesus macaques were confiscated by authorities in Trang Dinh district from a vehicle that was headed to the Chinese border via Cao Bang province. The driver of the vehicle was fined VND 17,500,000 while the macaques were transferred to a rescue center at Cuc Phuong National Park.
  • Online supplier arrested following an evidence package supplied by ENV to the Ninh Thuan Environment Police, leading to the seizure of 27 bear claws, 87 suspected tiger claws, nine suspected tiger claw tendons, and 24 tiger skin wallets.
  • Following ENV’s internet crime reduction campaign, we sent information to Soc Trang FPD, resulting in the confiscation of a juvenile sun bear and a juvenile Asiatic black bear, as well as a Germain's langur and an otter. The initial advertisement was for the bears, while the langur and otter were found on the property during the search.

Policy and Legislation Team

Another prosecution training was held in July, this time in Dak Lak province. There was the participation of 33 judges from Dak Lak Provincial Court, and 15 from district and city-level courts. This was the first prosecution training that ENV has held in Dak Lak Court, and it was an opportunity to share insights from our team on how to most effectively handle wildlife crime cases using wildlife protection and other relevant laws.

A media workshop was held in Hanoi in September, featuring the proposal of a “clean list” of wildlife that can be commercially farmed in Vietnam. As opposed to a list of prohibited wildlife, a list of permitted wildlife makes it clearer what can be bred, thereby making the monitoring and regulation of facilities an easier task. The list would exclude any species that are endangered, do not breed or grow well in captivity, or who’s breeding would be harmful to wild populations of the species. The workshop resulted in 29 news articles and was featured in 2 TV segments, generating interest and discussion around the "clean list" proposal.

Key prosecution and punishments:

  • 5-year sentence for the leader, and 18 months and 15 months for the other two subjects involved in transporting and possessing 59 kg of antelope horns and 90 kg of Sunda pangolin scales in Quang Ninh province, following the trial in September 2022.
  • Also in September, six subjects receive sentences between 2 years and 5 years, 3 months for possessing a dead common palm civet, two dead red giant flying squirrels, six red-shanked douc heads, and three red-shanked douc bodies.
  • 5 years for a subject transporting four live Sunda pangolins by motorbike in Quang Tri province, trialed in August 2022. The pangolins were transferred to the rescue center at Cuc Phuong National Park.
  • 36 months in prison for online trader in Hanoi in September, caught with three Asiatic black bear paws following information from ENV.
  • VND 500 million criminal fine for restaurant owner in Phu Quoc caught with 7 kg of dugong meat, 0.5 kg of stingray meat, 2.9 kg of wild boar meat, and three live clouded monitors, trialed in July 2022.
  • VND 70 million administrative fine for an online supplier, issued by Ha Giang Provincial People's Committee in August 2022 in response to evidence sent by ENV. The subject was first reported to ENV on April 12, 2022 for advertising tiger bone TM, bear bile vials, and gallbladders.

Communications and Public Awareness

In July 2022, ENV released the short film, “Say NO to Traditional Medicine from Wildlife”. This month we also focused on our ivory crime campaign, holding a media roundtable in Dak Lak with the participation of 32 local journalists and reporters. The event aimed to raise media coverage on the ivory issue, and was held in Dak Lak due to it being the hotspot in Vietnam for ivory crime.

In September 2022, ENV distributed the 52nd PSA, “Do not expose yourself to wildlife diseases”, highlighting the risk of zoonotic disease spreading from restaurants serving and keeping wildlife. It ends with the message, “You don’t have to eat wildlife to expose yourself to zoonotic diseases. Avoid restaurants and other establishments where wildlife is kept and consumed.”

In October 2022, ENV organized a round table meeting under the Elephant Friendly Business campaign, in Buon Ma Thuot city, Dak Lak province. There were 29 participants, including 13 local business owners, as well as local journalists and government agency representatives. The event was in collaboration with the Department of Culture, Sports, and Tourism in Dak Lak, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Dak Lak. The workshop aimed to enlist support from tourism companies and related businesses in an effort to stop ivory trade in the city.

In the same month, the Department of Information and Communications in Dak Lak sent a text to their 2.17 million subscribers calling for the public not to consume ivory products, and to report all wildlife crimes to the ENV Wildlife Crime Hotline. The text stated: “"Do not trade or consume ivory products. Report violations related to ivory and other wildlife to the toll-free hotline 1800-1522".

In November 2022, ENV partnered with Sporting Republic and Ciputra Hanoi International Club to hold the Hanoi Half Marathon 2022, raising awareness on the issue of traditional medicine made from wildlife. The Run for Wildlife spread the message that “Wildlife is not medicine!”. Watch ‘The ENV Minute #9’ for a summary of the event.

ENV released several publications in this period, including our Law Enforcement Responsiveness Report 2021, the Vietnam Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Identification Book and the State of the Trade: Rhino Horn Report.

Thank you for continuing to support ENV in the fight to end Vietnam’s illegal wildlife trade.

Sea turtle products confiscated from jewelry shop
Sea turtle products confiscated from jewelry shop
Hawksbill sea turtle transferred, Aug 2022
Hawksbill sea turtle transferred, Aug 2022
Sunda pangolin transferred, Oct 2022
Sunda pangolin transferred, Oct 2022
Turtles confiscated following pagoda survey, HCMC
Turtles confiscated following pagoda survey, HCMC
Hanoi Half Marathon 2022 - Run for Wildlife
Hanoi Half Marathon 2022 - Run for Wildlife
Bird nets dismantled and confiscated, Nov 2022
Bird nets dismantled and confiscated, Nov 2022
Macaque confiscated from coffee shop, Aug 2022
Macaque confiscated from coffee shop, Aug 2022
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One of the bears transferred, Phuc Tho, July 2022
One of the bears transferred, Phuc Tho, July 2022

As we hit the halfway point of 2022, we want to reflect upon all the progress we have made so far this year in the fight to end the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam. We have handled over 1,800 wildlife crime cases in 2022, and helped facilitate the rescue of over 1,600 live wild animals from the illegal wildlife trade, with birds making up 82% of this number! It’s great to see crimes against smaller and more ‘common’ wildlife, such as native wild birds, being taken ever more seriously by law enforcement. This strong action is vital in protecting Vietnam’s incredible biodiversity before it’s too late. As always, the progress we’ve made was made possible by your kindness and generosity in supporting the cause. Other species rescued included 123 mammals, such as macaques, lorises, pangolins, bears, leopard cats, otters, squirrels, porcupines, and tigers, among others, as well as 165 reptiles, including turtles and tortoises, snakes, pythons, cobras, and various lizards. These wild animals have been transferred to rescue centers or released back into the wild, all thanks to your support!

 

Progress ending bear bile farming

There have been several developments in the fight to bring Vietnam’s bear bile farms to their end since our last progress report, so we will begin with the tales of six transfers across May, June and July which saw 15 bears begin their new lives in a semi-natural sanctuary!

  • On May 13th, two bear cubs were rescued in Lai Chau by police who spotted the perpetrator carrying a suspicious yellow sack. They found two Asiatic black bear cubs inside, and made the arrest. Apparently, he had caught them both in a field, and intended to raise them himself until finding buyer. Luckily, the police stopped him before he could make the sale! They were transferred to Four Paws’ Ninh Binh Bear Sanctuary.
  • On May 29th, three bear cubs were rescued following police investigations into a subject. After chasing the subject, one bear cub suddenly turned up in a local resident’s vegetable garden. Luckily, they knew to transfer the cub to the Forest Protection Department. Two days later, the police caught the subject transporting two Asiatic black bears on his motorbike. The seller was arrested and the three bears transferred to Tam Dao Sanctuary.
  • We received a report from a member of the public regarding an Asiatic black bear being kept at a residence in Son La province, which was thought to be bear bile farm-free as of December 2021. In turns out, there was an owner who still had their ‘legal’ bear which had received papers back in 2007. The papers had expired and she did not renew it, allowing this bear to slip through the cracks. Our team pushed the authorities and the owner to secure a transfer of this bear, and gladly the owner agreed to do the right thing. This hidden last bear of Son La was transferred to Tam Dao Sanctuary.
  • On June 10th, the Hanoi Forest Protection Department confiscated an illegal, non-microchipped bear from a farm in Phuc Tho with 8 other ‘legal’ bears. The bear was discovered during a monitoring mission carried out by our long-time partner, World Animal Protection. ENV worked to ensure the authorities made the seizure, since this bear had been detected on the last mission, but claims were made it had passed away before efforts to confiscate were made. This bear was also transferred to Tam Dao Sanctuary.
  • Binh Phuoc becomes the latest bear bile farm-free province following the voluntary transfer of their last Asiatic black bear! This was arranged by Free the Bears, who worked alongside the Forest Protection Department. The bear has since been rehomed to their Rescue Center in Cat Tien National Park.
  • On July 7th, 2022, seven bears were transferred from the farm owned by the recently-arrested farmer who was caught with 350 vials of bear bile at the end of May. This farm is in Phuc Tho, Vietnam’s bear bile farming hotspot district, which is home to 93% of all the remaining bears in Hanoi. This case sets a precedent for other Phuc Tho bile farms to follow suit and cut their losses, knowing they can no longer get away with illegally extracting bile from the bears they keep.

 

Notable prosecutions April-July 2022

While bear news has been at the forefront of our mind these past few months, it is not the only exciting update we have from the frontlines fighting wildlife crime. We also have some significant prosecutions which have come through on crimes committed in 2021, as well as this year. Most notably:

  • At the end of March 2022, two men were sentenced to a total of 22 years in prison for 17 Bourret’s box turtles. All of the 16 live turtles were transferred to Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Center.
  • 12 years in prison was handed to a pair for poaching five grey-shanked douc langurs, with them receiving six years each
  • In July 2022, four women were convicted for trafficking 984 kg of African tree pangolin scales, receiving seven, five, four and two years, respectively, totaling 18 years for their crimes.
  • 2.5 years in prison for subject keeping 3 tigers in a hidden basement in Nghe An
  • 1.5 years in prison for a bear trafficker caught transporting an Asiatic black bear by motorbike in Lai Chau
  • 500 million VND fine for subject keeping 3 squirrels, 2 pygmy lorises, a small Indian civet, a pig-tailed macaque, a ring-necked pheasant, and an iguana.
  • 355 million VND fine for subject possessing 130 kg of various forest animals
  • 217 million VND fine for ivory selling shop for selling 27 ivory bracelets 

 

Prosecution training and law enforcement support

Three more prosecution trainings have been held in 2022 by ENV’s policy and legislation team, with a total of 175 attendees across Hanoi, Nghe An, and Quang Ninh procuracies. These trainings provide prosecutors with the knowledge to most effectively handle wildlife crimes, with our team drawing upon their many years of experience supporting cases from start to finish.

We also sent correspondence to commercial farmers to ensure they were aware of current regulations and are following laws relevant to the farming of wildlife. ENV provides the farmers with legal guidance if they have any queries about their farming operations. These efforts are to prevent them from farming species that are illegal or sourced from the wild, and causing irreversible damage to wild populations. Ensuring farmers are well-informed can go a long way in preventing wildlife crime and protecting wildlife.

ENV released our first Wildlife Crime Bulletin of 2022, to inform the public, law enforcement and government agencies on where we currently are in the fight to end the illegal wildlife trade, and the steps we can take to bring it to an end. This issue includes features on targeting major trafficking networks, a ‘clean list’ for commercial wildlife farming, a look at internet crime, and a spotlight story on criminals claiming to have saved people from drowning, in the hope of getting a lighter sentence.

 

Public awareness

In March 2022, ENV shared numerous prosecution successes on our Vietnamese social media, in order to deter future wildlife crimes from being committed. For instance, we shared the 7-year prison sentence for the subject keeping 14 tigers in Nghe An, which reached 17.8 thousand people, as well as the 10-year prison sentence received by a single subject for keeping 127 turtles in Dak Lak province, which reached over 313 million people on Facebook.

In April 2022, our ENV Volunteers in Hanoi hosted the first of several events in Vietnam’s major cities, focused on encouraging the public not to use traditional medicine (TM) made from wildlife. TM such as, rhino horn, tiger bone glue, and bear bile frequently result in the exploitation and slaughter of endangered wildlife. This event aims to dispel health myths associated with such ‘medicines’ and help consumers make informed purchases by avoiding products that directly contribute to the death of thousands of wild animals every year.

In May 2022, we held a media briefing on the bear bile farm situation in Hanoi, alongside Four Paws and World Animal Protection. This event was to elevate the issue of bear farming in the capital city and push for legislative action that will bring about the end of this outdated industry, once and for all. You can learn more about this event in this short film

In June 2022, we shared our first Public Service Announcement (PSA) of 2022, which used an animation to depict the rescue of a raptor from the illegal wildlife trade, thanks to a member of the public calling the ENV Hotline. The goal of this PSA is to mobilize the public to save wildlife with just ‘one free call’.

 

ENV keeps on fighting the illegal wildlife trade through our three-pronged approach: public awareness, law enforcement support and stronger policy and legislation. We continue to see progress in all areas, as one approach helps bolster the other, fostering a reality of wildlife protection in Vietnam.

It is largely thanks to public reports that law enforcement agencies are able to act so efficiently in tackling on-the-ground wildlife crimes, making arrests of wildlife criminals and taking wild animals to safety. None of this would be possible without your generous contributions towards ending Vietnam’s illegal wildlife trade and enabling us to do the work we do.

Thank you for continuing to follow our updates and support our efforts in any way you can. We can't wait to share with you future updates on the fight to end the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam! 

Bui Thi Ha speaking at Hanoi Bear Media Briefing
Bui Thi Ha speaking at Hanoi Bear Media Briefing
Macaque confiscated in May 2022
Macaque confiscated in May 2022
Pangolin voluntarily transferred, June 2022
Pangolin voluntarily transferred, June 2022
Attendees sign pledge not to consume wildlife TM
Attendees sign pledge not to consume wildlife TM
Macaques released back into nature, Da Nang
Macaques released back into nature, Da Nang
Bear cubs confiscated in Dien Bien, June 2022
Bear cubs confiscated in Dien Bien, June 2022
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One of the bears transferred in February 2022
One of the bears transferred in February 2022

In the first couple months this year we have been busy, with 448 live animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade in January and February 2022. We finished 2021 on a high, with more than 3,700 wildlife crime cases handled that year, the highest number we’ve ever recorded! All of these successes were possible thanks to the generous donations we received from you, our supporters. So, thank you.

Last year, we helped facilitate the rescue of 1,058 live wild animals from the illegal wildlife trade, largely thanks to 2,448 cases being reported by the public through ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline. We are encouraged by the awareness and commitment the public has displayed in their frequent reporting, with 9.3 reports received on average each day. Overt ownership of wildlife in Vietnam is becoming increasingly difficult, as a mobilized public not only knows it is harmful to biodiversity, but also knows how to report such crimes. The species rescued since our last GlobalGiving project report include, Asiatic black bears, otters, macaques, snakes, leopard cats, birds, pangolins, turtles and tortoises, among other wildlife.

In February 2022, our convincing efforts to some bear farmers in Binh Duong province finally paid off with one big transfer of 9 bears from 3 separate facilities. All were transferred to Ninh Binh Bear Sanctuary, where they will live the rest of their lives free from a cage, in semi-nature. We are impressed with the transition Binh Duong has made from a prior hotspot province, into an advocate for bears. Another transfer in December 2021 of a bear from a farm in Son La province, also to Ninh Binh Bear Sanctuary, saw Son La become the latest bear bile farm-free province in Vietnam! We look forward to welcoming more bear farm-free provinces as we close in on an end to bear bile farming.

This year, being the Year of the Tiger, is important in conservation work by shining a spotlight upon a critically endangered species that is now functionally extinct in Vietnam. In January 2022, we had a meeting with journalists regarding the issue of illegal tiger farming in Vietnam, to try to raise the importance of the issue in the media. There was a particular focus on non-commercial wildlife facilities in Vietnam, which allow for the potential laundering of tigers into the illegal wildlife trade. Our policy and legislation team made the case for stronger policies in relation to such facilities.

Our team also held a prosecution training session in December with Lang Son province. It was attended by 20 prosecutors and staff, as well as an additional 80 prosecutors from 11 outlying districts in the province. ENV worked to familiarize prosecutors with wildlife protection laws, and offered guidance on applying them to real cases. The team has continued to push for stricter handling of wildlife cases, and upheld correspondence with particular wildlife trafficking hotspot regions.

A key prosecution from December 2021 included 14 years in prison for a rhino horn trafficker who was attempting to smuggle 126 kg of rhino horn into Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi. This was the biggest prison sentence ever given in Vietnam for a wildlife crime. Another notable case was 12 years in prison, split between three subjects that were caught with two pygmy lorises, a common palm civet, and a squirrel, which they had hunted from the forest. A subject also received a strict sentence of 10 years for transporting 13 rare turtles, although the man who arranged the shipment remains unknown. This was a prime example to show the public that even low-scale involvement in wildlife crime is not worth the risk.

Turtles are one of the most commonly traded animals in the illegal wildlife trade. In December 2021, there was a seizure of 122 turtles of five species from a subject in Ho Chi Minh City, who is now awaiting prosecution. This subject intended to distribute the turtles among smaller-scale street sellers who operate in the city. ENV’s efforts to combat the turtle trade continue, especially in HCMC, where turtles are commonly sold for ‘release’ in pagodas. We have our street vendor campaign which is closely tied with our pagoda turtle campaign, where we work closely with pagodas to prevent this practice.

One key aspect of combatting turtle and other wildlife crimes is public awareness and crime deterrence campaigns from our communications team. Our messages for wildlife protection feature consistently on TV channels, radio networks, news articles and online on social media through viral ad campaigns. We also released our ENV November/December Newsletter: Wildlife Watch. We will soon be releasing our January/February newsletter, so keep an eye out for more updates from the field!

Thank you again, for your willingness to take action which keeps us fighting against Vietnam’s illegal wildlife trade.

Long-tailed macaque confiscated, December 2021
Long-tailed macaque confiscated, December 2021
Slow loris voluntarily transferred, December 2021
Slow loris voluntarily transferred, December 2021
Leopard cat confiscated, January 2022
Leopard cat confiscated, January 2022
ENV Head of Policy interviewed about tigers
ENV Head of Policy interviewed about tigers
Turtle voluntarily transferred in Hanoi
Turtle voluntarily transferred in Hanoi
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One of the tiger cubs rescued in August, 2021
One of the tiger cubs rescued in August, 2021

We have made it through the third quarter of 2021, and are pleased to announce the many successes that have been achieved towards ending Vietnam’s illegal wildlife trade. Through the Wildlife Crime Unit’s collaboration with authorities, we have tackled wildlife crime head-on, while our Communication Department have continued to educate the public on wildlife protection. We want to extend our gratitude to you for making this progress possible over the past nine months!

Between January 2021 and September 2021, we have documented 2,658 cases, showing a surge of over 1,000 cases in just these past three months. This is a great indicator of increasing public awareness around ENV’s work, our Wildlife Crime Hotline, and the motivation to work together to protect wildlife. Across all cases, ENV is averaging a 69% success rate across three quarters of 2021. These successes have included more than 538 live animals being rescued via 444 confiscations and 94 voluntary transfers. These live animals were either taken to a suitable wildlife facility or returned to the wild, safely removed from the cycle of illegal trading. The species rescued included bears, snakes, macaques, pangolins, lorises, gibbons, sea turtles, otters, birds of prey, freshwater turtles and tortoises, a spotted linsang and a caracal, among others.

The biggest case we had this last quarter was the 24 live tigers seized in Nghe An, a notorious trafficking hotspot in north-central Vietnam. ENV had been pushing the authorities to take firm and effective action against traffickers for years through investigations, arrests, and prosecutions. At last, great strides have been made in the right direction, with Nghe An Environmental Police seizing seven live tiger cubs on the 1st of August, 2021 and 17 live tigers during a raid of residential basements on the 4th of August, 2021.

In the first case, the cubs were relocated to Pu Mat National Park, with two subjects arrested in connection to the crime. In the second case, four men were arrested, but sadly, eight of the tigers died during their transfer due to being in poor health and facing unforeseen complications. While deeply saddened by this outcome, the seizure of these 17 tigers out of the illegal wildlife trade still remains a considerable achievement. These criminals had been killing tigers for years to sell them and their products into the illegal trade, and they can no longer carry out this illegal breeding, farming and slaughtering of tigers. We hope this acts as a deterrent to future tiger crimes, and are grateful to the Nghe An authorities for taking firm action against these criminals.

Other notable cases this quarter have included three arrests resulting from the rescue of a live Asiatic black bear in Dien Bien, the seizure of 400 g of pangolin scales and the confiscation of 200 vials of bear bile and other wildlife products. In the first case, the subject was arrested for trafficking the young 31 kg black bear by motorbike and is now facing 1 to 5 years in prison according to Vietnamese law. The pangolin scale seller was caught after advertising pangolin scales on social media and was arrested by Tuy Hoa city of Phu Yen province. In the last case, the Wildlife Crime Unit was conducting an internet campaign, searching for endangered species products being advertised on social media and other websites. This research discovered the subject selling 200 vials of bear bile, as well as bear gallbladders, ivory, tiger claws, tiger teeth, tiger bone glue, and other products. We are pleased that these cases were taken seriously by authorities and that these criminals are facing prosecution.

We released our ENV Wildlife Crime Bulletin of 2021 in August, which included wildlife crime cases and wildlife criminal prosecutions from the second half of 2020. There are also wildlife trade alerts for law enforcement authorities in Vietnam, encouraging them to strengthen their response to Vietnam’s illegal wildlife trade. We also released our ENV September Newsletter: Wildlife Watch, with the latest updates on what’s been going on at ENV across all our departments. Look out for our October Newsletter, which is soon to be released!

Our Public Awareness Team has released two new Public Service Announcements, including Pangolin Crime = Jail Time in Vietnam which highlights various cases where trafficking pangolins or their scales resulted in prison sentences, and Pagodas in Vietnam are no place for wildlife explaining how ‘releasing’ wild animals in pagodas is harmful and how ‘releasing’ exotic species is detrimental to local wildlife.

Thank you for your continued support. The progress we’ve made in fighting the illegal wildlife trade would not be possible without you!

One of the tigers from Nghe An tiger farm
One of the tigers from Nghe An tiger farm
Asiatic black bear confiscated in Dien Bien
Asiatic black bear confiscated in Dien Bien
Subject arrested for selling pangolin scales
Subject arrested for selling pangolin scales
Subject's advert for bear bile on social media
Subject's advert for bear bile on social media
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Young Chinese pangolin rescued in April 2021
Young Chinese pangolin rescued in April 2021

Dear Friends,

Thus far in 2021, our team in Vietnam has made huge strides in the movement to end Vietnam's illegal wildlife trade by working with authorities to address wildlife crime and further educating the public to protect wildlife. Today, we'd like to share a few of the achievements that have been possible in the past six months thanks to you and your support!

From the beginning of January 2021 to the end of June 2021, ENV's Wildlife Crime Unit documented 1,645 wildlife crime cases. As a testiment to increasing public support in protecting wildlife by reporting wildlife crime to ENV, ENV's Wildlife Crime Hotline received 1,109 hotline reports in the first six months of 2021. From these reports, our team was able to successfuly resolve 902 wildlife crimes, an 81.3% success rate in addressing wildlife crime reported to ENV! These success cases have resulted in more than 440 live wild animals confiscated and transferred to rescue centers or released back into the wild. Rescued wildlife during this period include bears, pangolins, lorises, otters, sea turtles, gibbons, birds of prey, macaques, snakes, freshwater turtles and tortoises, and even a spotted linsang, among others.  

One of the most notable wildlife crime cases recently was the largest takedown of a pangolin scale trafficking network in Vietnam! From January to March 2021, ENV investigated the network, working with local authorities to carry out a sting operation which saw the arrest of 4 pangolin scale traffickers and the confiscation of 984 kg of African pangolin scales. Sadly, this seizure is equal to 3,936 pangolins, however, ENV's Policy & Legislation Team will continue to follow the prosecution of the case to ensure appropriate prison sentences are handed out. 

Speaking of, ENV's Policy & Legislation Team has secured many successful legal interventions in the first half of 2021. During this time, ENV has intervened in 29 wildlife criminal cases that went to court, and from those legal interventions, 18 wildlife trafficking criminals have received a prison sentence. Making sure laws are upheld and wildlife crime is taken seriously is an important part of deterring future wildlife crime in Vietnam. 

Two landmark cases that have set important precendents for wildlife protect in Vietnam are detailed below.

In June 2021, ENV's team ensured the first-ever prison sentence in Vietnam for possession of African pangolin scales. Since 2018, ENV has been working with the court to ensure this case went to trial, overcoming multiple obstacles such as lack of legal protection for non-native species, and needing an official valuation of the pangolin scales which proved difficult due to the scales being black-market goods. Through persistence and determination of the ENV team, the trafficker was finally sentenced to 5 years and 3 months in prison for possession of 780 kg of African pangolin scales.

Another prosecution success includes the longest prison sentences ever in Vietnam's history for marine turtle trafficking, 12 and 10 years in prison for 2 traffickers arrested with 39 critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle "trophies" after ENV investigated the case for 7 years and finally set up a successful sting operation.

For more news on the legal team's progress to secure effective responses from the criminal justice system in dealing with wildlife crime, you're invited to read the latest Wildlife Criminal Prosecution Review.

In further news, the progress to end bear bile farming in Vietnam has made headway, with 7 more bears transferred to rescue centers in recent months and 10 more scheduled for the upcoming weeks. In fact, from January to June 2021, there have been 28 Asiatic black bears confiscated and transferred from bear bile farms to sanctuaries! Furthermore, in June, Lang Son province became the 40th bear-farm free province in Vietnam! Currently, ENV continues to work with authorities to get the remaining ~327 bile bears rescued from bile farms and safely relocated to bear sanctuaries. 

And finally, ENV's Public Awareness Team has released 3 Public Service Announcements (PSA) in 2021 to reduce demand for wildlife products in Vietnam. These PSAs are broadcast on up to 60 TV stations across the country, further publicized through journalism, and virally distributed through social media to reach millions with the message that wildlife must be protected and wildlife crime must be reported. The first PSA of 2021 was titled "Safer with Science" and was aimed at steering the public away from wildlife remedies, and to choose modern medicine instead. The PSA was very popular amongst the Vietnamese public as it used comedy to reach the audience. The second PSA was titled "Bear Karma" and personified the experience bears endure when being exploited for their bile. By utilizing the concept of karma, which is a deep rooted belief in Vietnam, we aimed to reach more people in a way they can understand and empathize with the message. And finally, the third PSA that was just released this month, "When Rhinos Lose Their Face, Consumers Lose Face Too," emphasizes how respect is earned through honorable acts, not by trying to impress others with rhino horn.

The Public Awareness Team also continued to run daily ads on Vietnam's most listened to radio station, Voice of Vietnam (VOV), and aired monthly shows on VOV about different wildlife trade topics such as the movement to end bear bile farming, exotic species in Vietnam's wildlife trade, and one of ENV's newest wildlife trade reports, Consumer Wildlife Crime Reduction Campaign 2019 – 2020.

Friends, this critical work to protect wildlife across the globe from Vietnam's illegal wildlife trade could not be possible without you and your continued support. Thank you, from all of us at ENV, for protecting wildlife and ensuring long-term change is possible.

Rare Asiatic softshell turtle confiscated in sting
Rare Asiatic softshell turtle confiscated in sting
Macaque rescued in April 2021
Macaque rescued in April 2021
Spotted linsang rescued in June 2021
Spotted linsang rescued in June 2021
Otters rescued from online wildlife trade
Otters rescued from online wildlife trade
First prison sentence for African pangolin scales
First prison sentence for African pangolin scales
Bear transferred to rescue center summer of 2021
Bear transferred to rescue center summer of 2021
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Organization Information

ENV Wildlife Conservation Trust

Location: Marshall, VA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @envusa
Project Leader:
Quyen Vu
Marshall, VA United States
$20,870 raised of $30,000 goal
 
380 donations
$9,130 to go
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