3 endangered silvered langurs butchered in southern Vietnam

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The corpses of silvered langurs killed a few days ago by poachers in the Phu Quoc National Park on Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province. Photo courtesy of Wildlife at Risk

Three silver langurs, also known as silvered leaf monkeys, have been poached and killed for meat in Phu Quoc Island of the Mekong Delta Province of Kien Giang.

Wildlife at Risk (WAR), a local NGO, said Friday that rangers of the Phu Quoc National Park were on a patrol a few some days ago when they found four poachers butchering the silver langurs (Trachypithecus villosus).

The exact date of the hunt and butchering was not revealed.

Two of the four poachers were caught on the spot, but the other two escaped, it said.

The park's rangers are coordinating with other agencies to investigate the case.

WAR said in a statement that it was assisting the Department of Forest Protection of Phu Quoc National Park identify and preserve three bodies of the langurs. It said those corpses are evidence of an act of illegal poaching at the Phu Quoc National Park.

The bodies are being kept at the Hon Me Animal Rescue Center in Kien Giang's Hon Dat District, according to a Vietnam News Agency report.

According to WAR, the silvered langur is a rare species native to Kien Giang Province, and has been marked as vulnerable in Vietnam's Red Book of threatened species.

It is also marked as "nearly threatened" in the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

Under Vietnamese law, the exploitation, use or sale of silvered langurs are prohibited and violators can face criminal charges.

The Vietnam Penal Code says that anyone who illegally hunts, kills, breeds or cages endangered wild animals, as well as those caught participating in the transport or trade of body parts, or products made from them, may be fined up to 500 million (US$23,654) and sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

WAR has requested that after the violators are sentenced, the animals' corpses be destroyed or preserved at the Vietnam National Museum of Nature.

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WAR director Nguyen Vu Khoi said: "We expect that the poachers will be punished strictly in order to enhance effectiveness of law enforcement related to wildlife conservation."

Last December, a court in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum handed down jail terms of one to two years and four months to three men for hunting and killing two gray-shanked douc langurs, an endangered species native to central Vietnam, in July 2012.

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