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Red tape prevents release of smuggled rare animals

Update: December, 02/2014 - 15:36
A total of 120.5kg of smuggled pangolins, snakes and soft-shelled turtles, rescued from smugglers in the central Quang Tri Province, are being kept in a warehouse in the Lao Bao Border Gates customs office. — Photo laodong

QUANG TRI (VNS) — Several rare mammals and reptiles are facing death because of conflicting work mechanisms of the agencies responsible for releasing the animals into the environment.

A total of 120.5kg of smuggled pangolins, snakes and soft-shelled turtles, rescued from smugglers in the central Quang Tri Province, are being kept in a warehouse in the Lao Bao Border Gates customs office, according to a report by Lao Dong(Labour) newspaper.

Hoang Van Cu, deputy director of the provinces customs department, said that they had penalised the smugglers and completed the procedures to transfer the mammals and reptiles to the forest ranger division in the provinces Huong Hoa District, where the border gate with Laos is located.

The ranger division is in charge of dealing with cases related to forest products and rare animals. But the division head Le Van Thanh was quoted by the newspaper as saying that his office had refused to accept the animals due to mistakes made in the procedures by the customs staff.

Le Chi Dong, a customs employee at the border gate, said that they had complied with the regulations, adding that customs dealt with such animals first as they are brought in from outside the country.

Thanh expressed concern over the death of some animals after they were kept in cages improperly, though he did give any indication of taking action to free the animals.

The case had been discovered on November 27, and since then the animals have been kept in bags seized from the smugglers from Laos.

When Viet Nam News yesterday (Dec 2) contacted non-governmental organisation ENV (Education for Nature –Viet Nam), which responds quickly for the rescue of rare animals, they said that they are working with agencies in the province for the animals welfare. — VNS

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