Wildlife poachers in Central Highlands using hunting dogs: park officials

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Since last year, poachers in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak are using a new way to hunt wild animals in a national park: hunting dogs.

The 60,000-hectare Cu Yang Sin National Park is facing the danger of losing a huge number of wild animals because of skilled dogs trained by the poachers.

Tong Ngoc Trung, the park's director, told Thanh Nien the dogs, which look harmless at home, have become fierce killers in the forests.

"Nearly no animal, no matter small or big, can survive in the forests that the dogs raid," he said.

According to Trung, each poacher usually has two or three dogs, each bought at an estimated price of VND10 million (US$475), and they sometimes team up to hunt animals.

Small animals like weasel, Java mouse deer and rabbit are most likely to fall prey to the dogs, he said, but bigger animals can easily suffer the same fate once the dogs discover them and bark until poachers show up and finish them with guns.

The dogs can also care animals on trees with their incessant barking, so that creatures like monkeys and other langurs freak out and drop to the ground, Trung said.

They are also trained to bark when they see park rangers so poachers can be alerted and escape.

To Van Duong, a park official, said poachers have turned to hunting dogs as they want to catch wild animals alive because these fetch higher prices.

Since 2010, 35 hunting dogs have been seized and killed by park rangers, he said.

More than 2,000 traps and 35 handmade guns were also confiscated from poachers.

The park's management board has deployed more staff for guard duty and used guard dogs to try and prevent the poachers and their dogs from entering the forests, Duong said.

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