On Jun 25, 2019, People’s Court of Con Cuong district in Nghe An Province announced verdict on the case of illegal hunting of 02 endangered Indochinese Gray langurs in the protected forest area of Pu Mat National Park. The convicts include Lo Van Hang, who directly shot the langur, sentenced to 4 years imprisonment, Vieng Van Thuy, the arranger of the hunting, sentenced to 3 years; the three other accomplices are sentenced to a total of 6 years 6 month. This case was handled by Pu Mat national park’s rangers and SVW Anti-poaching team in early January 2019.
On Jun 9, 2019, the 5 of them agreed to give 300,000 VND each firsthand for food. Each brought man-made hunting rifles and wire traps themselves to Pu Mat National park located at Chau Khe commune of Con Cuong District. They all had an agreement about equally sharing the wildlife meat after hunting. After entering the core protected area, which was strictly prohibited to enter, of the Nation Park, they carried out their assigned job, setting up temporary camps and system of wildlife traps. At 13:00 on January 11, 2019, the hunting group included Lo Van Hang and Vieng Van Sinh saw two individual gray langurs. Hang shot and killed these animals on spot, then these two brought them back to the camp. At 14h30 same day, Pu Mat National Park’s rangers and Anti-poaching team discovered their camp and found two individuals dead gray langurs, 5 rifles and 5 knives, many wire traps for animal hunting, grilled dried legs and bones of a wild boar and an individual of boar alive.
Two individuals of gray langurs with their scientific name Trachypithecus crepusculus (according to the indictment and Decree No.32/2006/ND-CP) are both included in the list of endangered, precious and rare species to prioritize for protection, group IB of Decree 160/2013/NĐ-CP; and the list of endangered and threatened species of Decree No.32/2006/NĐ-CP (that have been superseded by 06/2019/NĐ-CP). Based on the on-site evidences and in consideration of violations of the hunter group which is organized, dangerous to the community, negatively affected to the ecosystems, increase the risk of wild animals’ extinction especially Indochinese gray langur species, the subjects have been prosecuted and convicted for criminal sentence. All five were prosecuted in the People’s Court of Con Cuong district, Nghe An province on the “Violation of regulations on the protection of endangered and rare animals, prioritized protection” in Article 244 of the Penal Code.
It is known that the subjects were invited to participate in the propaganda workshop on wildlife protection law organized by Pu Mat National Park and Save Vietnam’s Wildlife in Tam Quang and Tuong Duong districts at the same period of time, but they did not attend and went to the forest to hunt animals as planned. The lack of understanding and neglect of the law has led to unexpected bad results which not only affects their own futures but also causes a big loss for their families and relatives when all had to face with sad and difficult days of Tet holiday ahead without husband and man as pillars of family.
Considering that all these people are ethnic minorities living in areas with difficult socio-economic conditions, the court has applied extenuating circumstances and sentenced Lo Van Hang 4 years, Vieng Van Thuy 3 years, Vieng Van Sinh 2 years and 6 months, Lo Van Hau 2 years and Vi Van Hai 2 years imprison.
Mr. Nguyen Van Thai, Director of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife said: “Vietnam and the world are both facing a terrible disaster – the decline of ecological balance, due to the biodiversity loss. The disappearance of forests and wild animals is taking place very quickly, but it must take a lot of time, effort and resources to recover them. Extinction is forever, and we humans are indifferent to that matter. Our society sympathizes with the weak, in this case, are the hunters. We often forget about all the consequences our society is suffering to implement a huge law enforcement force, as well as to recover the reputation of Vietnamese people for their selfishness in consumption habits of wild animal products, and to treat cancers caused by marinated chemicals into wild meat. Laws need to be strengthened, and we must not comply with violations. Hopefully, this is our lesson and similar violations will never occur in the future.”
“All violations of regulations on forest protection and management, wildlife hunting in Pu Mat National Park area will be strictly prohibited. Anti-poaching and forest protection rangers will strengthen patrols and resolutely handle violations. We want to once again warn all people to stop hunting, using and trading wildlife before it’s too late. Since the end of 2018, Pu Mat National Park has organized 12 seminars on education on forest protection in all buffer zone communes and I hope this is an eye-opening opportunity for us to change.” Mr. Tran Xuan Cuong, Director of Pu Mat National Park said.
The mobile trial court took place at Chau Khe commune, Con Cuong district, which is one of the hot spots for wildlife hunting. This court can be considered as an education means for people living around the buffer zone of Pu Mat National Park. Local people filled the court hall, showing their concern and interest on the issue. This is a valuable lesson for those who disregard the law, or still have the intention to enter the forest to exploit natural resources and wildlife. Hopefully, this case will somehow affect and partially change the community’s behaviors, make them consider other alternative livelihood solutions the authority has offered and contribute to protect Pu Mat National Park./.