Forestry officers raid illegal game restaurants in Da Lat
Wild boar and fox meat on sale at Moi Market in the Central Highland province of Lam Dong. — VNA/VNS Photo Cong Dien
LAM DONG — Lam Dong forestry officers have raided five restaurants suspected of serving illegal game in the resort city of Da Lat.
Provincial Forest Protection department director Pham Thanh Binh said five teams, working with Wildlife Conservation Society officials, had inspected the restaurants.
All had wild-animal meat stored as their specialities.
Tu Loan Restaurant in Hai Ba Trung Street was found with 150kg plus the arms of two bears; the head of a gibbon and about 40 live bamboo rats.
A fridge at the Nhat Ly Restaurant, Phan Dinh Phung Street, had 12kg of wild boar and porcupine and more than 10kg of snakes were found in the Huong Dong Restaurant, Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Road.
Game meat seized at other restaurants took the total to 300kg.
"It was our biggest campaign with 100 inspectors," said director Binh.
"All the illegal meat was carefully hidden which proves they know their trade is illegal."
The director said his officer would continue their checks but expected that it would be difficult to catch offenders red-handed because the "poachers and vendors must have now been alerted."
The department's forest management unit chief Nguyen Van Tuan said that his inspectors had worked with the police to identify the restaurants supplying illegal game. The fines levied against the restaurant owners would depend on the gravity of their offences.
Wildlife Conservation Society figures show that Lam Dong Province has at least 55 restaurants suspected of offering illegal game. Nine are in Da Lat.
The organisation's survey revealed about 40 wild-meat traders and more than 200 professional hunters in the Central Highland province.
The US Travel & Living Channel, which specialises in travel culture and food, showed java mouse-deer meat served as a speciality in Lam Dong Province last April.
The segment was withdrawn following public and official protests. — VNS