Call to control tigers in captivity

September 16, 2009

LookAtVietnam – Local people who live near zoos and endangered animal reserves in southern Binh Duong province are worried about their safety after a worker was killed

Two tigers are being raised at the Dai Nam Zoo in southern Binh Duong province. Some people who live near zoos and endangered animal reserves in the province are worried about their safety.

There are currently four establishments in Binh Duong that are licensed to raise tigers on a trial basis since 2007, including Dai Nam tourism site, Thai Binh Duong Beer Company, Thanh Canh tourism site and Huynh Phi Ngoc farm.

However, these farms have raised tigers based on knowledge and methods that have been appropriated from other countries standards, due to the lack of regulations.

Director of Dai Nam Zoo, Duong Thanh Phi, said the tigers in his zoo were raised on a trial basis in a semi-natural environment, which was used in Singapore to help tourists understand how the tigers behave in a natural environment.

The zoo submitted the project to local authorities for appraisal in June and were waiting for the appraisal results, he said.

However, the accident proved that the zoo’s project failed to ensure safety.

“We live in fear everyday, particularly when we hear the roar of the tigers raised near our house. It is unreasonable to raise endangered animals like tigers in a residential area,” said Nguyen Thi Chien, who lives next to the beer company’s farm.

“The raising of wild animals has also caused environmental pollution and I have complained to local authorities many times but received no reply,” she said.

Standards

Deputy head of the Binh Duong Forest Management Department, Tran Van Nguyen, admitted that so far there had yet to be any legal standards set for how to properly raise and keep wild animals. In particular, there have been no regulations made for the cages that house the fierce animals.

“Examinations were made at tiger raising farms, but it was difficult to decide whether these farms met safety requirements or not due to the lack of specific standards,” he added. “The cage at the Dai Nam Zoo was 2.5m high and was protected by a five metre electric fence. However, such cages were not appraised by any agencies for its safety,” he said.

The only current regulation concerning the breeding and keeping of wild animals is based on Decree No 82/2006/ND-CP, issued in 2006, which allows zoos or farms to raise the wild animals on a trial basis.

The decree, which manages the import, export, re-export and re-import, transit, breeding, growing and artificial transplantation of rare and precious wild life and plant species within the Vietnamese territory, was made after Viet Nam joined the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora.

Under the convention, the raising of tigers by these farms was aimed at preserving endangered animals for scientific research or for tourism purposes, but not for commercial profits, he added.

“It is now high time for authorised agencies to build safety regulations and standards to help better manage endangered animals to avoid such accidents from happening again,” Nguyen said.

Wild animal farms and reserves in other countries have applied several measures to ensure the safety for tourists such as building tempered glass walls, five-metre electric fences and a trench to separate the animals from observers, said Deputy Director of the Forest Management Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Do Trong Kim.

“Currently, the State does not encourage the breeding of wild animals and has yet to establish regulations over the technical construction of cages. Endangered animal raising farms must have their own management plans to prevent their animals from escaping,” he said.

After the accident, Director General of the Dai Nam Joint Stock Company and owner of the Dai Nam Zoo, Huynh Uy Dung, said another five metre fence would be built before the zoo was reopened to tourists.

He said the tiger that escaped was now isolated and would no longer be showcased for tourists.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News

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