Crocodile farms lack proper safety guides
HA NOI (VNS)— Thousands of farm crocodiles are making residents in some southern provinces fear for their safety after a large number escaped from a farm in Ca Mau Province last Friday.
|One of the crocodiles captured in the Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau after a mass escape from a farm last Friday. — VNA/VNS Photo Tien Hung
A lack of effective management by farmers has worsened the situation.
Truong Thi Hanh, a resident of the province, said she and others were afraid that local people and animals might be attacked by crocodiles prowling outside their homes.
She demanded to know who is responsible for these risks to people's safety.
Do Van Kiem, who used to raise tortoises and crocodiles in Hau Giang Province, said that husbandry of endangered predators such as crocodiles had become popular in the South. He added that dangerous situations could arose for local people when the animals escaped.
He said when the flood season arrived, there was a higher risk of overflow in farms, making it easier for the reptiles to escape.
Le Van Hai, head of the province's Department of Forestry, said that about 95 of the recently escaped crocodiles in the province's Dinh Binh Commune were rounded up. However it was still unclear how many others remained on the loose. The search for them had ended, he said.
The escapes occurred after a wall in the farm - which contained 580 reptiles - collapsed due to erosion caused by heavy rain.
Leaders of different agencies in southern provinces have been quick to blame regulations concerning the husbandry of endangered animal species and the limited effectiveness of punishments for poor running of farms.
Deputy General Director of the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry, Nguyen Ba Ngai, said management regulations for farms containing endangered and valuable animals were included in a decree regulating import, export and husbandry of wild animals and plants.
However, there was no specific criteria to be met by farms raising species of reptiles such as crocodiles, he said. He suggested farms should be built specifically to meet the needs of species and still ensure people's safety. Managers should recruit well-qualified workers to take care of the animals.
Wild animals raised in farms must be certified by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development's relevant agencies and in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna.
The decree does not mention specific punishments for violations.
Ngai said farmers should take ultimate responsibility for the escape of their animals, even during natural disasters.
Provincial leaders have asked authorities to inspect all reptile farms. They also suggested that the ministry publish detailed regulations making local management more effective and feasible.
Ngai said that such guidance would be made available by the end of the year.
He added that this would include farming standards, inspection procedures and a clear process for listing and monitoring animals. — VNS