Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan on Monday asked the Defense Ministry to punish those involved in the killing of two endangered monkeys in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.
Nguyen Van Quang, a 20-year-old soldier of the Army Corps No.3 under the Central Highlands Corps, last week posted 12 photographs of two gray-shanked douc langurs being tortured and dismembered on his Facebook page.
In the photos, Quang and other young men, some in army uniforms, had inserted cigarettes into the mouth of a langur seemingly already dead and had tied up another langur with rope.
There were also photos of the men dunking one of the animals in boiling water to get rid of their fur, and disemboweling them.
One of them, grinning, poses with the head of one of the langurs, while others pose with the two of the animals' skulls.
The photos attracted thousands of comments from people expressing shock and anger.
After the Army Corps No.3 summoned Quang for questioning, he told investigators he and his colleagues did not directly trap and shoot the langurs.
He said they bought the animals from locals who hired them to slaughter the animals.
During the process, Quang said, he and his comrades tortured the animals and took photos.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the gray-shanked douc langurs are protected by the government and hunting, slaughtering, and trading of the animals is prohibited by law.
It asked the Defense Ministry to strictly punish individuals or organizations involved in the capture, torture and killing of the monkeys and do more to increase the awareness of soldiers and officers in the protection of wild animals.
The Army Corps No.3 said Monday the case is still being investigated.
Dr Ha Thang Long of Cuc Phuong National Park's Primate Rescue Center told Thanh Nien there are around 1,000 gray-shanked douc langurs left along the Truong Son Mountain Range in Vietnam.
The langurs live mostly in Kon Ka Kinh National Park in Gia Lai and Chu Mom Ray National Park in Kon Tum Province.
However, Long warned that the species is facing extinction due to fierce poaching.