SITE PROTECTION

There are no completely secure protected areas in Vietnam. Illegal hunting occurs in all protected areas in Vietnam. Most of this hunting is to supply the commercial wildlife trade. One of the major threats to carnivores and pangolins is snare-trapping. This is often done on an industrial scale to supply the illegal wildlife trade.

Forest-dependent communities have been impacting ecosystems in Vietnam for thousands of years. The Vietnamese are still influenced by traditional beliefs that the forests and all they contain exist to be used for human demands. They believe that hunting animals is the only way a man can feed his family and provide them with medicine. It has caused the decline and extinction of many wildlife species in Vietnam.

Our main site is Pu Mat National Park. This is one the largest protected areas in Vietnam and it forms part of the Annamite Mountains, a global priority for wildlife conservation. It is within the range of several of our priority species, including Owston’s Civet and Sunda Pangolin. We work with the national park to improve law enforcement and monitor the park’s threatened wildlife. We also work with the local communities to reduce their impacts and inspire them to protect wildlife.

ANTI-POACHING UNIT

In 2018, we set up an Anti-Poaching Unit in Pu Mat National Park. This is being co-managed by the government and Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. This is the first ever example of a co-managed ranger unit in the country.

This unit consist of seven rangers. We are now busy training this unit and making sure they have the skills needed to patrol Pu Mat National Park. This unit will also work with our community outreach team, to ensure that our awareness and education activities on illegal hunting are targeted at the right groups of people. Keep coming back for results from our new Anti-poaching Unit

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Law enforcement alone has never succeeded in stopping poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. We need to to work with local communities in a constructive way and recognise that they are part of the solution and not part of the problem.

We have interviewed community gatekeepers, local residents and hunters from 103 villages in and around Pu Mat National Park. This research has shown that the local communities surrounding the park, still go to the forest to hunt pangolins and other threatened mammal species. Local hunters lack an understanding of the importance of wildlife conservation.

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is now using this information to identify the community gatekeepers who can support our campaign: to raise awareness in these local communities on wildlife conservation and the need to protect Pu Mat National Park. The local hunters we have identified will form part of our behavioural change work. We will identify the motivations for hunting wildlife and change these.

IMPROVING LAW ENFORCEMENT

Outside of Pu Mat National Park exists a network of illegal wildlife traders, wildlife restaurants and professional hunters. Combatting this threat will need cooperation between many stakeholders. These include government forest rangers, local police, the border army and community leaders.

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife is working with all these stakeholders. In 2018 we will run three workshops to bring the government rangers and police together. The aim of these workshops is to strengthen the collaboration between these stakeholders, so that enforcement against the illegal wildlife trade is improved.

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