Police detain Vietnamese man for trafficking endangered primate

By Hai Binh   June 7, 2017 | 09:44 am GMT+7

The dead bodies of a douc langur and four monkeys were brought into Vietnam from Laos, allegedly to make bone glue.

Police in the central province of Nghe An arrested a Vietnamese driver on Tuesday morning for illegal wildlife trafficking.

The driver, named Quan, was caught with four monkeys and a douc langur, all of them dead. The douc langur is an endangered species protected under Vietnamese law.

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The dead primates police seized on Tuesday. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Thang

Quan claimed he bought the dead animals in Laos and was transporting them to a buyer, who wanted to make bone glue.

The douc langur cost VND5-7 million ($220-310), while the monkeys were valued at VND200,000-300,000 per kilogram, the man said.

Nghe An police and customs officials are investigating the case.

Black-shanked, red-shanked and grey-shanked douc langurs are native to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Their populations had dropped by 50 to 80 percent over the last three decades, the WWF said on its website.

In Vietnam, the main threats to the douc langurs are habitat loss and hunting, and the animals are used for medicine, meat or sold as pets.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists all three species of douc langurs as endangered or critically endangered. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) also prohibits their international trade. Vietnam, a CITES signatory, also has laws to protect the animals but enforcement is sometimes lacking.

Bone glue is sought after by some in the country and around Asia for medical treatment, despite a lack of scientific grounds. Primates and tigers have been threatened by this type of consumption.