Five Vietnamese have been charged with poaching three endangered langurs, an official has announced.
“They were charged for breaching regulations on the protection of precious and rare wild animals,” Le Van Nhi, the deputy head of Danang Province's Forest Protection Department, said on Monday, adding that if convicted, the five can face up to seven years of imprisonment.
Further investigation revealed the slain animals to be the red-shanked douc langur (Pygathrix nemaeus), the most colorful of all primates and red listed as endangered by International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2013.
According to Vietnamese officials, about 100 traps, the corpses of three monkeys, dried meat, bone, skin and fur were recovered by forest rangers. This is the first time Danang provincial authorities have busted alleged primate poachers.
The langurs were killed in Son Tra Nature Reserve in Danang, Vietnam, which is home to 200 red langurs and is famous for its rich biodiversity.
Steel wire traps and handmade air guns were used in killing wild animals in the reserve, poachers admitted. The corpses were to be sold to restaurants for their meat or for making monkey paste. An illegal hunter can earn as much as USD 300 by selling a live langur.
Humans are the main predator of the red-shanked douc. They are severely threatened by habitat destruction and poaching. Indigenous people of Vietnam hunt them for food and body parts with the the latter used in traditional medicine.
Some of the rarest primates live in Vietnam, among which, five are among the top 25 most-endangered species of monkey in the world.