Caged life kills species in Vietnam’s Red Data Book hinh anh 1Wildlife trade takes place publicly at many markets in Mekong Delta localities (Photo: VietnamPlus)


Dong Thap (VNA) - “Buy a turtle, will you? Raised turtles, wild ones, we offer all. If you need a large number of them, just give me a call and then they will be available,” a local person residing in an upper reach region of An Phu in An Giang province made the offer with an alacrity.

It was just a story of a single trader which serves as a foreword of the story of the killing of endangered species in the Mekong Delta and some other provinces and cities nationwide.

In the Mekong Delta, the trading of rare wildlife such as elongated tortoise, king cobra and grey-headed swamphen, among other, is taking place publicly at many markets in An Giang, Dong Thap and Long An. This illegal activity is also found common around the Tram Chim National Park in Dong Thap, which is among eight Ramsar sites in Vietnam.

Along with wildlife trade, the confinement and killing of wild animals in the Delta remains rampant, being an issue that has been raised for a long time. Meanwhile in the north, the killing of endangered animals, particularly tortoises, for meat and medicine have been on the rise.

VietnamPlus e-newspaper will give the readers an insight into ongoing wildlife trade and the killing of endangered animals by infiltrating into the caged life, which kills many animals named in the Vietnam’s Red Data Book in Mekong Delta and some other localities to learn about the dark side in wildlife conservation and protection at present.

Wet markets in disguise offer endangered animals

The end of the rising water season in the Mekong Delta falls in October. A road in Dong Thap province bordering Cambodia is viewed as a hotspot in the trading of wild animals in the Delta. Along the road are huge billboards against trade and trafficking of illegal and prohibited goods but the fact is a heart-broken story.

From the border region to the city’s downtown, species in Vietnam’s Red Data Book, wild and rare turtle varieties in particular, are sold publicly as if they are not in the list of the prohibited. Some “traders” revealed that the turtles come from the Tram Chim National Park, recognised as a Ramsar site of the world.

Caged life kills species in Vietnam’s Red Data Book hinh anh 2Turtles listed in Vietnam’s Red Data Book are for sale at Tam Nong wet market in Dong Thap province (Photo: VietnamPlus)


Offering endangered animals for sale despite ban

Passing through a border road to reach So Thuong bridge near a communal centre of Hong Ngu township, Dong Thap province, wildlife trade takes place in broad daylight.

There, birds and Asian openbills are tied together and piled up on the side of the road. Once a customer asks, the animals will be slaughtered at the scene.

Besides, dozens of turtles are tied and hung onto a pole. Among them are Mekong snail-eating turtle, which belongs to the Group IIB (restricting exploitation and use for commercial purposes).

Ironically, the trading of rare birds and endangered turtles is taking place right next to a sign saying “Hong Ngu township police – Road with surveillance camera”. Even when customers ask to take photos, traders who sell “prohibited goods” are joyfully agree as they are advertised free of charge.

When being asked where he could own such a large amount of snakes and turtles, a seller immediately replied that this area is close to the border and the national park, so they are abundant.

Caged life kills species in Vietnam’s Red Data Book hinh anh 3Wildlife trade takes place publicly at Tam Nong wet market (Photo: VietnamPlus)


Where is the source?

A local person living near the Tram Chim National Park said if anyone wants to buy turtles and birds, just come to Tam Nong market. The market is some kilometres away from the national park and Lang Sen wetland reserve, another Ramsar site.

Sellers at booths offering Mekong snail-eating turtles and other species in the market tell customers benefits of eating and keeping them as pets, adding that all of them will bring in good fortune.

[Exploring nine Ramsar sites of Vietnam]

In addition to tens of about 1-kg turtles on display, the sellers have their own “cellars” to store mature wild turtles.

Caged life kills species in Vietnam’s Red Data Book hinh anh 4Rare birds are slaughtered at the scene (Photo: VietnamPlus)

Meanwhile, My Tho market in Cao Lanh district is known for its abundance of turtles.

A female trader said although it is the end of the rising water season, there are huge amounts of wild turtles, snakes and birds for sale. They are sold at a cheap price if customers buy many, she added.

When being asked to take photos of the turtles with rare colours, the woman warned that the photos must not be uploaded to Youtube or Facebook, the most commonly-used social media in Vietnam.

Wild animals are for sale not only in suburban areas but also at Cao Lanh market in downtown Dong Thap.

Documents and addresses of places with illegal wildlife trade were sent to Dong Thap’s forest management force, but the reply remains “no violations have been found yet”./.

Next: “Hell market” kills endangered animals