Man arrested for killing endangered douc in central Vietnam

A 27-year-old man has been detained in Quang Ngai Province after he fatally shot an endangered douc with a makeshift gun.
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Pham Van Thay is being investigated for violating wildlife protection regulations, Ba To District police said Sunday.

Thay shot dead a gray-shanked douc (Pygathrix cinerea) near the border of Ba Kham and Ba Trang communes Tuesday. After local forest rangers caught him, he confessed that he'd bought the gun online for hunting, Vnexpress reported.

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A troop of gray-shanked doucs (Pygathrix cinerea) in Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock.

The gray-shanked douc is native to Vietnam and found in the provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Kon Tum and Gia Lai. With only between 550-700 individuals left, it is one of the most endangered primate species in the world and is classified as "critically endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species (IUCN).

Its existence is threatened by hunting and habitat destruction. Many people believe their bones and meat can be used for making traditional medicine.

Previously, in 2019, a court in Nghe An Province in central Vietnam sentenced five men to prison for hunting and killing two endangered langurs.

Lo Van Hang was sentenced to four years while Vieng Van Thuy received three years. Vieng Van Sinh got 30 months, and Lo Van Hau and Vi Van Hai got 24 months each for the charge of "violating regulations on management and protection of endangered, precious and rare animals."

According to the indictment, the men planned on hunting langurs in the Pu Mat National Park in the province in January this year. They had agreed that if they were able to catch the primates, they would share the meat.

On January 9, 2019, the group took handmade guns, ropes and traps and went to the park together. They camped in the park for two days until Hang and Sinh detected two Phayre's langurs on the morning of January 11. Hang shot dead both langurs and brought their bodies to the camp.

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The Phayre's leaf monkey is native to South and Southeast Asia. Photo by Shutterstock/Ezaz ahmed Evan

Around the afternoon the same day, the group was found by Pu Mat rangers and the Anti-Poaching Group under Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW), a non-profit organization in Vietnam. The rangers collected the bodies of the langurs, five handmade guns, five knives and other tools the poachers had used.

Phayre's langur, also known as Phayre's leaf monkey, is a species of lutung native to South and Southeast Asia, including India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and China. It is threatened by hunting and loss of habitat.

The animal is classified among rare animals protected by Vietnamese laws from exploitation or use for commercial purposes, and as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

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