VietNamNet Bridge – Nearly 100 trees are stolen from the Yok Don National Park in Dak Lak Province each month, while local rangers say that they can't stop the situation.



Rare trees were cut down from the Yok Don National Park



More than half of the local people living in the area are making a mockery of the national park designation by making a living from illegal logging.

According to director of the Yok Don National Park, Do Quang Tung, a cubic metre of a rare wood is worth the same as four tonnes of rice so local people are preferring to destroy the forest instead.

"Local people, mostly men, are often hired by loggers to transport wood out of the park or they form logging gangs themselves," Tung said.

Drastic measures will be needed if the national park is to survive.

"We are facing many difficulties in dealing with the problems," Tung added. "The park is large, the loggers are in big groups and very aggressive while we are a small team. Moreover, based on current law, we can only issues fines to those caught with cutting equipment in the park, which is too small compared to the money they get from taking wild animals and rare trees there."

The director revealed that they interrupted 470 illegal logging attempts since the beginning of this year, seizing nearly 200 cubic metres of wood and 560 pieces of machinery. However, only 10% of poachers were arrested in these raids.

"On August 19 we found with 6.5 cubic metres of chopped fragrant rosewood. Five men from Ea R’Ve Commune, Ea Sup District were arrested. On September 5 and 6, we found several big piles of wood, about 100 cubic metres, placed along Dak Dam Spring. I am sure that this wood came from the park."

Yok Don is one of the country's largest national parks with total area of 115,545 hectares. However, there are only 217 staff on the ranger team, but 13 below the average of one ranger per 500 hectares.

'Based on the current situation at Yok Don, we need at least one ranger per 250 hectares of forest," Tung said.