Police in Da Nang are checking the number of langurs hunted and killed at the world’s major primate reserve in the city to build a case against five poachers.
Initial investigation suggested that the group sneaked into the center on Son Tra Peninsula at night to hunt the endangered red-shanked douc langurs and sell them to those who cooked their bones into a glue-like substance advertised as tonic.
Son Tra Mountain became a natural reserve in 1977 for having the largest number of langurs living in the wild.
It has received a lot of attention from local and international conservationists alike, but the Da Nang government has only assigned 12 rangers to guard the more than 4,000 hectares regularly.
Local forest rangers discovered the langur killing on March 30 when they arrested Vi Van Son with many traps and more than three kilograms of animal parts, which had been smoked for easy transport.
Son, 39, said he and four others from his hometown in Nghe An Province, more than 400 kilometers to the north of Da Nang, had trapped two red-shanked douc langurs in one week, together with several other animals.
Tran Van Luong, head of Da Nang Forest Management Department, said at least three of the langur had been killed.
The primate species, known scientifically as Pygathrix nemaeus, is strictly protected from poaching and commercial use in Vietnam. It lives in central Vietnam and the neighboring Laos.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature labels the species as endangered as its population has declined by around half, to some 2,000, the last three generations due to forest loss and hunting for meat, bone and fur.
IUCN predicted the same rate of decline in the next three generations, or 30 to 36 years.