Rescuing, Rehabilitating And Releasing Animals Confiscated From The Illegal Wildlife Trade


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.

Wildlife Rescue Team

+ 1700
wildlife animals
rescued from illegal trade

Veterinary Team

70 %
major surgeries
are successful

Keeper Team

40 %
> 60% of wildlife SVW rescued
have been successfully rehabilitated and released back to the wild


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.



© SVW - A pangolin released back to the wild.

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. 

Around 60% of these animals have been rehabilitated and released back to protected areas, while nearly 10% of animals were transferred to others rescue centres or unable to release, and most of over 30% died within few days due to health issue of forced feeding to increase the weight, sick from long transport during the trade, or wounds of hunting.


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.  

Over the past 5 years, Save Vietnam’s Wildlife has become established as a conservation organization which is internationally recognized as a world leader in the rescue, captive husbandry, rehabilitation and release of pangolin species in Vietnam, and is well respected for its work with Vietnamese small carnivore species. We have used the development of SVW and our improved outreach capabilities to directly work with other rescue centres in Vietnam. SVW has provided expertise, staff training, and logistical and financial support to help improve animal welfare standards in several government rescue centres in Vietnam. This includes supported Hanoi Wildlife Rescue Centre, where we helped 115 trade-confiscated pangolins being released back into the wild. We also work with Cat Tien Wildlife Rescue Centre to release 9 other pangolins.

In 2017, SVW started a collaboration with Pu Mat National Park. Since starting the partnership with Pu Mat National Park, SVW has undertaken training and built the capacity of the keepers at the rescue centre, employed dedicated keeping and veterinary staff, improved animal husbandry practices and quarantine procedures, repaired and upgraded the 552m2 quarantine facilities, established a new 135m2 veterinary facility, constructed 24 dedicated quarantine facilities (240m2), and upgraded food preparation and storage areas. A total of 305 animals including primates, turtles, rodents and other wildlife have been rescued and rehabilitated at the centre since our involvement.