Raising wildlife for conservation faces big challenges

VietNamNet Bridge - Species diversity in Vietnam has been declining rapidly because of illegal poaching and trafficking. In 1996, Vietnam had 25 species listed as endangered, but in 2014 the figure had risen to 48.


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Species diversity has been declining rapidly




A report on national environmental status in the 2011-2015 period pointed out that many species are in danger, including the snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus) with only 190 alive, Delacour's langur (Trachypithecus delacouri) with 100, and tigers, with only five existing (IUCN 2015).

If Vietnam doesn’t take action to protect wildlife, many species will end up extinct, like the Java rhino Vietnam (Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus) in 2010.

Raising wild animals for conservation purposes helps protect genetic sources and restore the number of threatened species, but also recover wildlife populations in their natural habitat.

According to the 2011 national report on biodiversity, Cat Tien National Park has recovered and released fresh-water crocodiles (Crocodylus siamensis) to the wild. 

In 2010, the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute gained initial success in artificially reproducing sea horses (Hippocampus kellogi) with the highest possible size of 35 cm. Vietnam also is protecting the genetic sources fir Vietnam deer (Cervus nippon pseudaxis), though the species no longer exists in the wild.

Nguyen Nga and Dao Huong from Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW), in an article published on thiennhien.net, emphasized that when breeding wildlife for conservation, it is necessary to ensure high levels of genetic diversity within a species, because this will have a direct impact on species' survival and adaptability in the natural selection process.

Breeding facilities need to have deep understanding about species, experience in taking care of animals, and hi-tech facilities. These are all big challenges for Vietnam.

Breeding facilities need to have deep understanding about species, experience in taking care of animals, and hi-tech facilities. These are all big challenges for Vietnam.

It is costly to maintain a reasonable diet regime for wild animals. At SVW rescue center, which specializes in conserving small carnivorous animals and pangolin, the feed for pangolins costs VND1 billion a year. 

Pangolins are difficult to breed in captivity due to the high cost plus the special care regime and low reproduction rate.

Another big challenge is animal welfare. Vietnamese laws stipulate that animals be treated humanely. However, animal welfare remains a controversial concept in Vietnam. Dan Viet newspaper reported that National Assembly’s deputies, when discussing the Law on Livestock, used the expression ‘animal welfare’ to talk about humans only.

Phan Viet Lam, chair of the Vietnam Zoo Association and Southeast Asian Zoo Association (SEAZA), said that only 18 zoos in Vietnam are members of SEAZA and have good breeding conditions.


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Mai Lan

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