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Farmers kill rare wolves to protect livestock

Update: December, 02/2013 - 08:50

An Asiatic wild dog, named in the Viet Nam Red Book as a species needed to be preserved to avoid extinction. Photo Courtesy

SON LA (VNS) — A 40-strong pack of wolves thought to be endangered Asiatic wild dogs (Cuon alpines) have come under attack from farmers in northern mountainous Son La Province's Muong Lan Commune trying to protect their livestock.

Giang No Ly, a resident in the commune's Pa Kach Village, said the wolves were usually seen in the commune during the rainy season, often between April and October, hunting the villagers' cows and buffaloes for food.

Due to the wolves, he'd lost four buffaloes and so many pigs he'd lost count, Ly said.

"It's a miserable situation as cows and buffaloes are treasures to us", another villager, Ly Thi Mai, said.

"We raise these animals for two years and then one day they suddenly disappear," she added.

"Is it any surprise we want to kill all the wolves?" she said.

Pa Kach Village is one of the poorest villages in Muong Lan Commune with 36 households mostly comprising of H'Mong ethnic people, said Giang Se Tua, head of the village.

On average, each household loses two or three animals each year, he said.

According to Ly, the wolves appearing in the commune were believed to be 90 cm in length, with tails of up to 30cm and weighing 30-40kg. The fur on their backs and sides was reddish brown, with white or lightly coloured underbellies, Ly added.

Ly said all local residents knew that killing the wolves was a violation of regulations on protecting wild animals, but they had to do this to protect their livestock.

In the meantime, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed the Asiatic wild dog as an endangered species. They are also named in the Viet Nam Red Book as a species needed to be preserved to avoid extinction.

Experts highly recommended authorised agencies and local authorities to issue a policy to protect both the Asiatic wild dog and local residents' livestock.

Giang Ba Tua, vice chairman of the commune's People's Committee said that in the short term, the committee had told local residents to keep a careful eye on their livestock and to refrain from attacking the wolves.

But the committee was still searching for a long term solution, he said. — VNS

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