Now here’s some good news from Education for Nature Vietnam, as relayed to me by their Communications officer, Tom Edgar.

Rhino Horn Smugglers Get Jail Time

“Great news! Three Vietnamese men have been sentenced to a total of over 27 years’ imprisonment for attempting to smuggle 20 kg (44 lbs.) of rhino horn across the border into China.

Police in the border province of Lao Cai stopped their white Toyota Camry car in Lao Cai city in May last year and discovered four whole horns and two small horn pieces from white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum simum).

Duong Van Sang and Duong Van Thanh, who were transporting the rhino horns, were imprisoned for 8 years and 9 months and 8 years and 6 months respectively. The rhino horn owner, Duong Van Chiem was sentenced to 10 years and 6 months imprisonment.

Although ENV was not involved in their apprehension, we campaigned vigorously to ensure the prosecutors followed the letter of the law as laid down by the 2018 Penal Code. The subsequent prison time is a fantastic result in what was rightly considered a key rhino horn prosecution. Sentencing like this sends out a strong message that wildlife crime is being taken seriously in Vietnam and helps act as a deterrent to others.”

Turtle Guide To Help Law Enforcement Updated

“In other news, we have just published an updated guide to help Vietnamese Customs and other law enforcement agencies identify freshwater turtles and tortoises. We have updated the previous 2010 edition in the light of the new Penal Code and changes to the protection status of some turtle species. The guide features 25 species and includes identification features, habitat, and the current status of each species, as well as comparisons.

A total of 1,700 copies of the guide will be circulated to those at the sharp end of wildlife crime involving turtles and tortoise.

The new updated ENV ID guide to turtles and tortoises will assist authorities

94000 School Children Call For Bears To Be Released To Sanctuary

Meanwhile, we have been inundated with entries to our schools’ letter writing challenge. We asked youngsters the length of Vietnam to write a letter to a bear owner urging them to surrender their bears to a bear sanctuary. Well, the deadline has just passed, and the final count is just over 94,000. We are thrilled. The postman not so much.

A lot of creativity has been on display, from writing from the perspective of a bear to the highly decorative envelopes used to send in their entries. Picking out the prize winners is going to be quite a task.

 A colorful selection of the letters received 

Progress In Schools and Legislation

Finally, as past experience has shown, patience and perseverance pays off when it comes to advocacy. We were quietly pleased to have recently persuaded schools in the Saigon area to surrender all the legally held wildlife being kept on campus. And, to top it off, all of ENV’s recommendations to the Vietnamese government have been included in a just issued Decree that further enhances the new Penal Code. Decree 35/2019/ND-CP, replacing Decree 157, comes into effect on June 10.

As ever, thank you so much for your ongoing support and words of encouragement. You, literally, keep us going. If this email made you smile, please consider a donation to our Gift of Peace appeal:

Best wishes


Tom Edgar”

Make a difference  Gift of Peace 2019