Recently, 24 tigers (17 adults and 7 cubs) confiscated in Nghe An province has attracted enormous attention from Vietnamese authority and public about illegal wildlife farm issues in Vietnam, in which a large number of wildlife farms are still operating outside the law. This tiger case has stirred up controversial conversations among the general public; Vietnamese people surprised to the large number of ‘dark’ tiger farms. Welfare of confiscated animals and mysterious death of 8 tigers during the confiscation, “can those tigers be released” or “who will rescue those animals” were also part of conversation. Working closely with journalists who found the arrested tiger farms, SVW has been contributing a significant effort to combat wildlife crime in Nghe An and Vietnam.

One of dozens of tigers just seized by Nghe An provincial authorities. Photo @Dan Viet

SVW has engaged with journalists since October 2020 to battle wildlife trade, starting with organizing a 1-week training to the journalists, which was co-hosted by PanNature and SVW. The training on how to investigate, write and support wildlife conservation was participated by more than 20 journalists from 20 local and national newspapers/journals who often focus their writing on the environmental topics. There young passionate journalists were inspired about wildlife conservation, learnt skills relating to undercover investigations. This writing area was considered as exciting, meaningful but difficult. SVW also provide the information of the wildlife issues and subjects from illegal wildlife trades in Nghe An province to encourage the journalists carrying investigation in Nghe An.

Engaging and getting the journalists to involve in combating illegal wildlife trade is part of SVW strategy so that we could fight wildlife crime together more effectively. Journalists could have more impacts on government, when they show the evidence such as videos, photos, recorded sounds, it often gets more attention from government officials. SVW has been working with a group of 5 investigative journalists to carry undercover study in Nghe An province since early 2021. SVW provided some support for those journalists when they investigate the traders and poachers in Nghe An, as well as provide the information of traders, poachers and connect the journalists with the government officers. Most journalists worked on this project have joined the journalist training courses.

One of the big challenges is finding the placement options for those confiscated tigers. After the authority made calls to almost all rescue centres and safari parks in Vietnam, none of those organizations can take those tigers immediately, SVW accepted to rescue and take care of 7 tiger cubs while we continue to engage with others organizations to find safe places for 17 adult tigers. We are planning to hold workshops with multiple stakeholders including government, Zoo Associations, rescue centres, NGOs to discuss the placement options for the confiscated tigers in Vietnam.

Tiger cubs after over one month at the rescue center in Pu Mat National Park. Photo @Yen Tran / SVW

From 3 to 18 August 2021, there are about 50 wildlife crime news, posts, videos published on the Nong thon ngay nay and Dan Viet journals, comprising 7 traditional non-digital news, 8 videos, 36 online news on Dan Viet journal as the products of 5 journalists SVW engaged with. This also includes 5 E-magazine series (find below links), and interviews with authorities, organizations and important people involving in recent wildlife arrests. SVW also engaged with over 30 media agencies to help public understand the death of confiscated tigers, tiger conservation and law enforcement. Recognizing the great works of Environmental police of Nghe An and the difficult situations when 8 tigers were died after confiscation, SVW has provide our statement “DON’T LET THE DEATH OF THE TIGERS SLOW DOWN THE FIGHT AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIMES” which published on our website, social media and newspapers/journals in the country. We hope it will help to raise awareness to public understanding the issues of tiger farms etc.

To engage and motivate the local government or journalists involving in combating illegal wildlife trade, SVW organized two events to award the policeman who arrested traders and confiscated successfully 24 tigers, and the journal Dan Viet for their contribution to fight wildlife crime in the province.

Recognizing this could be a precious chance to communicate and put pressure on the government to end illegal wildlife farming in ‘hotspot’ provinces, SVW led a group of national and international conservation organizations in Vietnam to draft a Letter to authorities, comprising Provincial People’s Committees of 63 provinces, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development which manages rangers. The Letter was composed to ask the government put more effort and attention to solve the public concern regarding illegal wildlife farm and wildlife trade activities. The Letter has been sent on the 23rd of August 2021 (news mentioning this Letter could be found at https://kenh14.vn/sau-vu-giai-cuu-17-ca-the-ho-14-to-chuc-bao-ton-tai-viet-nam-gui-thu-ngo-mong-muon-tang-cuong-ra-soat-xu-ly-cac-hanh-vi-nuoi-nhot-dong-vat-hoang-da-20210823145849857.chn, in Vietnamese).

Below is a list of online news and videos regarding the journalist investigation into wildlife crime following the training given to journalists in October 2020 by PanNature and SVW.

Introduction writing to the new series
https://danviet.vn/don-doc-loat-phong-su-dieu-tra-an-thu-rung-rung-rung-nguoi-khoc-20210801130839869.htm

Volume 1: Hóa kiếp đủ loại hàng trong “sách đỏ”:
https://danviet.vn/bai-1-hoa-kiep-du-loai-hang-trong-sach-do-20210804100032561.htm

Video attached:
https://danviet.vn/video-dieu-tra-an-thu-rung-rung-rung-nguoi-khoc-ky-1-vao-hang-o-nhung-ong-trum-thoi-40-20210802100320954.htm

The animal trader then was arrested
http://congan.nghean.gov.vn/tin-tuc-su-kien/202108/bat-doi-tuong-tang-tru-trai-phep-04-ca-the-te-te-931465/

Volume 2: Trong “hang ổ” của trùm “hàng con” xuyên lục địa
https://danviet.vn/bai-2-trong-hang-o-cua-trum-hang-con-xuyen-luc-dia-20210805082107243.htm

Video attached: Trước giờ G ở “hang hổ” khét tiếng Việt Nam:
https://danviet.vn/video-an-thu-rung-rung-rung-nguoi-khoc-ky-2-duong-vao-hang-ho-khet-tieng-vua-bi-cong-an-nghe-an-triet-pha-20210802113425809.htm

One of those wildlife traders then was arrested:
http://congan.nghean.gov.vn/tin-tuc-su-kien/202108/bat-doi-tuong-tang-tru-trai-phep-04-ca-the-te-te-931465/

Another wildlife traders was arrested with 17 tigers:
https://danviet.vn/nghe-an-thu-giu-17-chua-son-lam-bi-nuoi-nhot-trai-phep-trong-nha-dan-20210804113638529.htm

Volume 3: Xuống chợ phiên buôn thú rừng với các má hồng:
https://danviet.vn/bai-3-xuong-cho-phien-buon-thu-rung-voi-cac-ma-hong-20210805234331063.htm

Lawyer said tiger farming is a criminal violation
https://danviet.vn/nguoi-dan-nuoi-nhot-17-con-ho-nhu-nuoi-lon-co-the-bi-xu-ly-theo-quy-dinh-nao-20210805085932206.htm

Who are responsible for the dead of 8 confiscated tigers?
https://danviet.vn/nguoi-dan-nuoi-nhot-17-con-ho-nhu-nuoi-lon-co-the-bi-xu-ly-theo-quy-dinh-nao-20210805085932206.htm

Why do authorities not know about the illegal tiger farms?
https://danviet.vn/vu-nuoi-nhot-trai-phep-17-con-ho-o-nghe-an-kiem-lam-tung-kiem-tra-nhung-khong-phat-hien-truong-hop-nao-20210805160947664.htm

Video attached:
https://danviet.vn/video-dieu-tra-an-thu-rung-rung-rung-nguoi-khoc-ky-3-nhuc-nhoi-cho-phien-thu-rung-doc-duong-7-20210802115946179.htm

Responses to the case where 8 out of 17 tigers died:
https://danviet.vn/sau-giai-cuu-8-17-ca-the-ho-truong-thanh-o-nghe-an-da-chet-20210805225339541.htm

Analyzing the reasons why 8 confiscated tigers died:
https://danviet.vn/vi-sao-8-ca-the-ho-truong-thanh-chet-ngay-trong-ngay-duoc-giai-cuu-2021080612560329.htm

Volume 4: Trong thế giới ngầm của các “sát thủ rừng xanh”
https://danviet.vn/bai-4-trong-the-gioi-lon-nguoc-cua-cac-sat-thu-rung-xanh-20210807075924367.htm

Video attached:
https://danviet.vn/video-dieu-tra-an-thu-rung-rung-rung-nguoi-khoc-ky-4-su-tra-gia-cua-tho-san-va-giot-le-nguoi-o-lai-20210802172717935.htm

Volume 5: Biệt đội giải cứu thú rừng và những lá chắn thép
https://danviet.vn/bai-cuoi-biet-doi-giai-cuu-thu-rung-va-nhung-la-chan-thep-20210808135435929.htm

Video attached:
https://danviet.vn/video-an-thu-rung-rung-rung-nguoi-khoc-ky-cuoi-theo-chan-biet-doi-giai-cuu-thu-rung-20210802180004421.htm