HA NOI — The preservation of animals seized from illegal wildlife trading cases has remained substandard, leading to significant waste, experts have said.
|Ha Noi Police hand over a forest cat seized from an illegal trader to the Wildlife Search and Rescue Centre. The preservation of seized animals remains substandard, experts say. — VNA/VNS Photo Tran Viet
Ngo Ba Oanh of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Forest Protection and Nature Conservation Centre told Dat Viet newspaper that the process of seizing creatures from poachers and deciding which relevant authorities should handle the case might take several days.
He cited a recent case where hundreds of kilos of copperheads were seized as an example. In the market, a kilo of these snakes cost VND2 million (US$96), but these snakes kept dying due to the long investigation process, causing huge economic losses.
Moreover, for dead wild animals, the process of prosecution, trial and implementing the court's decision usually took months or years. This seriously affected the quality of specimens, he said, often rendering them unsuitable for display purposes.
PhD Pham Van Luc, director of the Ha Noi-based Viet Nam National Museum of Nature – the only place that accepts dead wild animals to put on display – said many specimens were not standard enough to transform into display pieces.
"Most specimens from wildlife trading cases have been chopped into pieces so they can easily be hidden from the authorities. Many have even started to disintegrate, even when they come straight from cold storage," he said.
So far, about 30,000 specimens have been transferred to the museum.
Luc said many wildlife specimens were ruined to such an extent that the museum could only salvage their bones and skin.
"These specimens may cost hundreds of millions of dong," he said.
Le Minh Tuyen, deputy director of the municipal Forest Management Department said that many agencies were still confused about where to transfer and preserve wild animals properly after seizing them.
The Government's Dispatch 611 issued in 2007 stipulated that dead wild animals and those with little chance of surviving should be moved to the Viet Nam Natural Museum of Nature to serve the purposes of education, research or specimens for display.
According to Luc, the museum would send documents to localities where wildlife trading cases were popular, such as Quang Ninh, Ninh Binh, Bac Kan, Quang Binh, Nghe An, Binh Dinh Tay Ninh and Can Tho, to show relevant authorities how to properly transport and preserve wild animals.
For cities and provinces near Ha Noi, the museum offered 10 cubic metres of cold storage for wildlife preservation during the investigation process, he said.
"Wild animals must be moved to rescue centres or the museum as soon as possible," he said. — VNS