confiscated stuffed gibbon and baby langurs
Today 100 rangers from across the province of Lam Dam came together in a coordinated raid of restaurants and shops selling protected and endangered wildlife in the Central Highlands city of Dalat, Vietnam.
Scott Roberton Ph.D, the Country Representative of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) - Vietnam Program, tweeted the progress of the city-wide raids, live on the internet via the website Twitter. The presentation is perhaps the first of its kind—allowing observers to view photos of the items confiscated by law enforcement as teams reported back from their raids.
Primates seized in the raids included a gibbon and two juvenile Douc langurs, all seized from a single restaurant.
confiscated gaur horns
Other mammals seized included pangolin, mouse deer, wild pig, Elds deer, serow, muntjac, Civet, Bamboo rats, porcupine, and 3 sets of gaur horns (classified as critically endangered in Vietnam).
Additional animals seized by authorities included monitor lizard, a croc skin, and cages of wild doves.
Today is the one-year anniversary since Vietnam’s probably last Javan Rhino was found dead in Cat Tien, with its horn removed. Vietnam is at the center of the world's illegal trade in Rhino horn.
In total 89kg of wild meat was seized today, as well as more than 100 live animals, horns/antlers and stuffed primates. A total of 19 people were arrested and numerous restaurants and shops fined.
Dalat has a previous history of major wildlife problems
confiscated crocodile skin and deer horns
The city’s central market is well known for selling souvenir bear and leopard cat claws and teeth for tourists.
On August 26, the Lam Dong Forest Protection Department (FPD) seized more than 200 kilograms of illegal wildlife meat during a raid on 12 restaurants Dalat. About two-thirds of the meat was discovered at Tu Loan Restaurant, run by Tran Phuong Ha, who also owns a zoo in Da Lat.
confiscated live bamboo rats
Subsequent raids by FPD conducted on September 1 at 17 restaurants in Lam Dam Province, just west of Dalat, turned up around 30kg of wildlife meat and 12 live wild creatures, including one leopard cat.
TV not helping
Last year the American travel show “No Reservations” caused a local uproar when the show’s presenter ate mouse deer (chevrotain), a protected wild animal, just outside Dalat. The Travel Channel advertised the restaurant on its website. After being pressed on the incident the Travel Channel later agreed to remove the recommendation from its website, and said it would not air the episode again until it was significantly edited. However, the episode has remained available for download, unedited, on iTunes for quite some time.
Read about the killing of Beckham, an elephant in Dalat, on www.muinebeach.net.
Photos courtesy Scott Roberton, WCS.