Da Nang forest rangers get axed over illegal logging at primate reserve

By Nguyen Tu, Thanh Nien News

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Officials remove a tent put up by locals to serve deforestation in Son Tra peninsula in Da Nang. Photo: Nguyen Tu Officials remove a tent put up by locals to serve deforestation in Son Tra peninsula in Da Nang. Photo: Nguyen Tu

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The Communist Party leader of Da Nang City has ordered that local government fire two forest management officials over recent deforestation that disturbed the home of at least 75 endangered doucs.
Nguyen Xuan Anh, Party secretary of Da Nang, at a meeting Thursday instructed the city’s agriculture department to dismiss Tran Van Thanh, head of Son Tra peninsula forest management unit, and his deputy Le Phuoc Bay, as well as reassign all rangers in the unit.
Preliminary investigations found the logging in the buffer zone of Son Tra peninsula, home to a major primate reserve in Vietnam, went on for at least a month until some locals posted a video on Facebook late last month.
Trees were felled over an area of 1,000 square meters and 75 langurs that once lived in the zone are still unaccounted for.
Anh said the neglect of the forest management unit is “unacceptable.”
“Tough punishment must be made,” he said.
Anh also revoked the agriculture department’s earlier decision to lease more than 1,000 hectares of forest land to locals to avoid further deforestation.
He said Tran Van Luong, head of the city’s forest management department, will receive his due punishment after state inspectors finish investigating the case.
Tran Huu Vy, director of the GreenViet biodiversity conservation center in Da Nang, told Thanh Nien earlier that the buffer zone was an ideal home for douc langurs thanks to plentiful food supply and the location, which is shielded from strong winds.
Vy said the 75 red-shanked missing langurs are nearly a third of the douc population on the 60-square-kilometer peninsula, which is just 10 kilometers from downtown Da Nang.
He said humans have been encroaching on the forest area in Son Tra, and this is bound to affect the precious douc population.
The primate reserve on the peninsula has lost nearly half of its original area of more than 4,400 hectares to road construction and restaurants over the past decade.

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