"They were charged for breaching regulations on the protection of precious and rare wild animals," Le Van Nhi, deputy head of Da Nang Province's Forest Protection Department, said. If convicted, they can face up seven years of imprisonment.

It was the first time Danang provincial authorities have arrested alleged primate poachers. Forest rangers recovered evidence that included 100 traps, the corpses of three monkeys, dried meat, bone, skin and fur, officials said.

Further investigation determined the dead langurs to be Red-Shanked Doucs, which were listed as endangered in 2013 by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The Son Tra Nature Reserve in Danang, known for its rich biodiversity, is home to 200 Red-Shanked Doucs.

Officials said the hunters admitted to using steel wire traps and handmade air guns to kill wild animals in the reserve. They sold them to restaurants or make monkey paste. A live animal could earn an illegal hunter nearly US$300.

Vietnam is home to some of the rarest primates in the world, with five of the top 25 most-endangered species of monkey. The animals are consumed for their meat, which is considered a delicacy. Some are also used for traditional medicine.

Deutsche Presse Agentur - April 13, 2015