WILDLIFE RESCUE

In Vietnam each year, thousands of animals are illegally traded for meat consumption, traditional medicine, pets and souvenirs.  Live animals that are being illegally trafficked are often dehydrated, nutritionally-stressed, carrying diseases, and have injuries from when they were hunted. Poachers and traffickers will often force feed pangolins to increase their weights before selling them.

Government agencies in Vietnam will often release trade-confiscated wildlife straight back into the forest. These animals are released without any health checks or quarantine. Animals are often released outside of where the species is naturally found.  These are threats to wild populations.

Our rescue work directly targets these threats to wild populations. We use the media coverage of rescues and releases, to help educate the public, and raise awareness on the impacts of the illegal wildlife trade. Most importantly, we use these rescues to encourage and motivate the government to continue combating the illegal trade.

In 2017 SVW rescued

407
Pangolins
5
Leopard Cats
12
Civets

rescue and rehabilitation

We work with the government to rescue trade-confiscated wildlife and we run a national hotline for reporting trade-confiscated wildlife that needs rescuing. When we receive news of trade-confiscated wildlife, our Rapid Response Team mobilises. This team consists of veterinarians and wildlife keepers. They work with the government confiscation authorities, providing practical training in best practices and give emergency care to the rescued wildlife.

The trade-confiscated wildlife are then brought to our rescue centre. They then go through a 30-day quarantine. If healthy and releasable, the animals are then released into safe protected areas.

Unreleasable animals will be kept in our education centre with the best care to inspire visitors to contribute to the conservation of the species.

CARNIVORE AND PANGOLIN CONSERVATION PROGRAM

In collaboration with Cuc Phuong National Park we co-manage a specialist rescue centre for threatened species of pangolin and carnivore. Our rescue and rehabilitation facilities in Cuc Phuong National Park include 56 separate quarantine enclosures, specially designed for pangolins and small carnivores.

For pangolins who have to stay a longer time after quarantine periods, we have 8 naturalistic enclosures. While 19 other large naturalistic enclosure for unreleasable carnivores and for the Owston’s Civet conservation breeding program. The animals that can’t be released, are part of our education mission. Their stories help us to inspire people to protect the wildlife and to say no to consuming wildlife products.

Our current veterinary facility is quite small, which we are going to upgrade to have a larger modern facility to cope with large number of rescued pangolins. (if you want to donate veterinary equipment, let us know).

RELEASE AND MONITORING

Our aim is that all rescued, rehabilitated and captive born carnivores and pangolins are released back to the wild, and that these releases support the conservation of wild populations.

As part of the pre-release preparation, animals undergo health checks and their feeding habits, behavior, weight and body condition are closely monitored.

Before release, our field teams carry out field surveys to evaluate the suitability of release locations. Habitat condition, evidence of wild populations and the hunting pressures are considered to maximize the survival rate of released animals and ensure they will support wild populations. We are now in the process of monitoring these releases and their impacts on wild populations. We want to ensure that these releases are supporting the recovery of threatened wildlife species.

We have released eight species of carnivore and pangolin, including Sunda Pangolin, Owston’s Civet, Common Palm Civet, Masked-Palm Civet, Leopard Cat, Small Indian Civet, Crab-Eating Mongoose and Large-toothed Ferret Badger.

OWSTON’S CIVET CONSERVATION BREEDING PROGRAM

Conservation breeding is often an expensive and high-risk conservation tool to recover wild populations. SVW only uses conservation breeding programs as a last resort.

Owston’s Civet Chrotogale owstonii is the only species that we run a conservation breeding program for. This is an ‘Endangered’ species of civet now found only in Vietnam and Lao PDR. Populations in both countries have declined very quickly over the last two decades because of hunting, particularly snaring.

The breeding program is run in partnership with several zoos in Europe, and is being managed as an European Endangered Species Program. Our aim is to build up an insurance population until a time Owston’s Civet can be successfully reintroduced into a protected area in Vietnam.

BUILDING CAPACITY FOR RESCUE CENTERS

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife aims for our rescue center to serve as a role model for excellent animal management and welfare standards for rescue centers throughout Vietnam. We aim to lead the way in pangolin rehabilitation for other organisations across Vietnam and oversees, by demonstrating excellent animal care standards and providing technical advice and training.  

We carry out training courses on the handling and care of confiscated wildlife for rangers and provide education for the other captive facilities’ staff on environmental enrichment and husbandry management to promote best practice for animal care.

In 2017, SVW started a collaboration with Pu Mat National Park. We support the existing rescue center there with knowledgeable staff, upgrades of the existing facilities and improvements in animal welfare. The start of this collaboration was marked by building 12 new quarantine enclosures, suitable for pangolins and small carnivores.

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