Bi-monthly wildlife trade reports, prepared by the Project for TRAFFIC South-East Asia can be viewed or downloaded from the Reports section of this Web site. To receive printed copies of current or past reports, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Large numbers of snail-eating turtles (Malayemys subtrijuga)
are still common in the trade. A seiure in March included 350 kg of this species from southern Vietnam or Cambodia.
During the period of February 1 to May 31, Ninh Binh authorities seied four separate shipments of wildlife that included turtles. On March 14, trade activity appeared to pick up following a three month lull, with a seiure of 350 kg of Malayan snail-eating turtles (Malayemys subtrijuga) and a ton of snakes: 800 kg of Burmese pythons (Python molurus) and 200 kg of water snakes (Enhydris bocourti). A second shipment confiscated the following day included 83 turtles of eight species (107.4 kg), including Indotestudo elongata, Manouria impressa, Cyclemys pulchristriata / atripons, Heosemys grandis, Hieremys annandalii, Malayemys subtrijuga, Siebenrockiella crassicollis,and Cuora amboinensis.
Two subsequent enforcement actions resulted in apprehending a small-time trader from the Ha Tinh region, and another large shipment from the south, consisting of Malayan snail-eating turtles, Tokay geckos, and birds. Several other trade enforcement actions by Ninh Binh FPD (that did not involve turtles in the shipment) resulted in the confiscation of two golden cats, and several Asiatic black bears. Meanwhile in Hanoi, Forest Protection Branch rangers seied a single shipment of 280 Malayan snail-eating turtles during the first five months of the year.
One of the difficulties facing provincial rangers in the north of Vietnam is that traders often possess permits for their wildlife cargo issued by provincial FPD units in the south of Vietnam (province of origin). Active enforcement units have little choice but to honor valid permits and return wildlife to the traders, unless the trader has violated other restrictions on the permit such as exceeding the gross weight authoried or if the shipment includes species not listed on the permit. The province of origin listed for some observed shipments suggests that many of the turtles and other wildlife shipped from the extreme south of Vietnam may have been smuggled in from Cambodia.
The TCEP is working with provincial rangers to address the critical threat to Vietnams turtles through training, partnership on specific conservation-focused efforts, and improving enforcement and monitoring of the wildlife trade. Many difficulties face wildlife protection authorities as they seek to tighten their grip on the illegal trade. One major need in the coming year will be to bring southern-based provincial units up to speed with their northern counterparts, and bring a halt to the issuance of permits by southern units that hasten the drain on the countrys wildlife resources.
TCEP, News letter, Vietnam