Man Arrested in Khammouane Province for Illegal Consumption of Endangered Species

Man Arrested in Khammouane Province for Illegal Consumption of Endangered Species
The arrested Phaiboon Thammavong and the dead Laotian langur (photo credit: the People's Police Academy)

Authorities in Khammouane Province arrested Phaiboon Thammavong on 15 May after he posted a collection of photos on his personal Facebook account depicting the corpse of a Laotian langur, an endangered species, as he cooked and consumed it.

Accused of violating the national wildlife law, the offender is now held in custody where he confessed his crime to local police. The Khounkham District Forestry Unit, a government wildlife protection unit, is still investigating the case.

As reported by the People’s Police Academy, Phaiboon is a resident of Mak Naeng village who “finds pleasure in hunting protected wildlife for sustainability and posting such stories on Facebook to provoke the law.”

“We feel deeply sorry for what happened because Laotian langurs are extremely endangered,” said Vuethao Vangkou, translator and administrative assistant at the Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife. “This particular species currently only exists in Laos.”

“The task is up to them [wildlife protection units in the area] to educate the residents; we can offer some support in doing so, but they are the ones who call the shots,” he added.

Following Phaiboon’s case, the wildlife conservation authority called for higher awareness within the community and encouraged sustainable solutions for the protection of endangered species. Vuethao also claimed that such creatures could attract foreigners, particularly animal enthusiasts to come visit Laos and study the species. 

The Lao government’s resolution on prohibited aquatic and wild animals classifies protected  animals into two categories, namely prohibition category, which comprises animals that are strictly off-limits for hunting, and management category, comprising animals that could be hunted under certain circumstances.

The resolution specifies that all types of gibbons and apes in the family Hylobatidae, such as the Laotian langur, fall into the first category.

Wildlife hunting remains a significant challenge in Laos, despite ongoing efforts by the Lao government and non-governmental organizations.