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Pangolin smugglers face up to 15 years in jail

Update: May, 20/2016 - 18:05
The pangolin has been listed as critically endangered. – Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – Illegal hunters, transporters and smugglers of pangolins will face imprisonment for 1-15 years from July 1 under the amendments of the Penal Code.

They will also be subjected to an administrative penalty of between VNĐ500 million (US$22,400) and VNĐ2 billion ($89,600).

The move is aimed at better preserving pangolins, which are on the brink of extinction due to illegal hunting, trading for food or for use in traditional Asian medicine.

The Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program, a collaboration between Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW) and Cúc Phương National Park, yesterday saved two pangolins (Manis pentadactyla) from the Nậm Cắn International Border Gate in the central province of Nghệ An’s Kỳ Sơn District.

Authorised agencies at the border gate found the pangolins, along with ten turtles, (Platysternon megacephalum) in the luggage of a man from the province’s Diễn Châu District. He failed to show legal documents proving the origin of the animals.

All the pangolins and turtles are in good health and have been taken to rescue centres at the Cúc Phương National Park in the northern province of Ninh Bình.

Nguyễn Khắc Chiến, deputy head of the Customs Department of the Nậm Cắn International Border Gate, said many wild animals, particularly pangolins, are trafficked and transported from Laos to Việt Nam.

More inspections to save these animals and to transfer them to rescue centres are necessary to stop the illegal hunting and trade of the animals to protect them from extinction, he said.

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is a national non-profit organisation committed to protecting and increasing the population of  endangered wildlife in Việt Nam by rescuing threatened animals, protecting entire populations and ensuring secured habitats.

Viet Nam’s first pangolin education centre officially opened early this year at the CúcPhương National Park. The centre’s innovative and interactive design aims to help visitors, especially children, learn about pangolins in an enjoyable manner.

It is part of  Save Vietnam’s Wildlife’s efforts to fight the illegal pangolin trade and raise public awareness about pangolins.

According to a survey done by the organisation, 90 per cent of Vietnamese people do not know that Việt Nam is home to two species of pangolin -- the Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) and the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla).

The population of the two species has declined in Việt Nam over the last two decades, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The organisation has listed the two species as critically endangered, which means they face an extremely high risk of extinction. - VNS

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