Ban does not deter bird poachers in central province

By Dac Thanh   October 13, 2023 | 04:02 pm PT
There has been no letup in bird poaching in the Dam River basin in the central Tam Ky City despite a ban by local authorities.

Large flocks of birds were seen coming to the reeds and grasses of the Dam in An Phu Ward to feed in early October.

To the west of the river, Quang Nam Province authorities have planted thousands of mangrove trees amid water hyacinth and other aquatic plants, making it a prime environment for fishes, crustaceans and birds.

Hunters use nets to trap birds here though a ban is in place.

They plant three-meter bamboo sticks amid the mangrove and string nets running over 200 m between them.

They are difficult for the birds to detect due to their fine strands.

Wild birds being hunted on the Dam River in Quang Nam's Tam Ky City. Video by VnExpress/Dac Thanh

The poachers use boats to set up the nets in the marshy area.

"Birds usually get trapped in the dark," a local said.

"The more they struggle, the tighter the nets get around their legs, wings and head."

Hundreds of meters of nets are also strung behind the headquarters of the Quang Nam Management Committee of Economic and Industrial Zones in An Phu Ward.

Every morning hunters go by boat to capture trapped birds and sell them to restaurants.

Locals have been complaining in vain about the poaching for months.

Nguyen Cao Tri, deputy chairman of An Phu Ward, said the poaching only began recently, and is done by "certain people sometimes."

Ward authorities have busted two cases of poaching using nets and seized dozens of meters of the nets each time, he said.

"We seized the nets, but could not find the violators to deal with them."

A duck is caught inside a net at the Dam River in Quang Nams Tam Ky City. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh

A duck is caught inside a net at the Dam River in Quang Nam's Tam Ky City. Photo by VnExpress/Dac Thanh

Nguyen Minh Nam, deputy chairman of Tam Ky, said the city has been instructing local authorities for several years to advocate for people not to hunt birds and crack down on poaching to protect the Dam River's ecosystem, but the hunting has continued.

The city plans to turn it over to the police, he said.

In August Le Tri Thanh, deputy chairman of Quang Nam Province, issued a directive to better manage and protect wildlife, acknowledging that there has been poaching of wild and migratory birds using nets.

The Dam is around 1.6 m deep on average here and has a basin spanning 650 ha.

Tam Ky City has earmarked VND8.9 billion ($364,008) to plant several native species of trees on a 22 ha area to restore the river’s ecosystem.

A survey by researchers from the Vietnam National Museum of Nature found that the river attracts 31 bird species, including the endangered Asian openbill.

There are also 33 fish species and 16 reptile and amphibian species in and around the river.

In Tam Ky's urban plans for until 2030, the river plays an important role in the ecosystem and tourism development.

The city has asked the Quang Nam administration to invest VND118 billion in infrastructure to develop ecotourism by 2024.

It has also petitioned the province to consider building a biodiversity museum and creating a wetland and biodiversity conservation area along the river.

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