VietNamNet Bridge – After the Java rhino, what kinds of wild animals are facing extinction? The question has been posed to Do Quang Tung, Director of the Vietnamese agency for CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) enforcement.
Many animal species in Vietnam critically endangered
| Do Quang Tung, Director of the Vietnamese agency for CITES |
The information about the death of the last one-horn rhino in Vietnam has stunned the public, even though people well understand that the are animal is the aiming point of hunters. Scientists have immediately called on people to join forces to protect rare animals, or they, like Java rhinos, would also disappear on the earth.
What would you say about the information that the one-horn Java rhino has officially got extinct in Vietnam?
One-horned rhinoceros (Java) are one of five rare subspecies of rhinos in the world with a very limited existing number. In South East Asia, besides Vietnam, there is only one another population of Java rhinos in Indonesia. Scientifically, in order to keep sustainable existence of big animals like rhinos, it is necessary to have at least 50 individuals.
Meanwhile, research works in Vietnam show that since 1990s, there had been only 5-7 individual existing at the Cat Tien National Park. This means that this kind of animal will still get extinct even without the intervention of people, because they cannot maintain the race. The inbreeding will affect their life expectancy and life circle.
As such, the extinction of the Java rhino is anticipated?
The last rhino was shot dead, which is the thing no one expects. However, as I said above, even if it had not been shot dead, rhinos would have not been able to exist in Vietnam because of the limited number of individuals and the limited habitat. However, if the conservation works can be done well and if we can create suitable habitat, it is still highly possible to preserve the kind of animal.
What would you say about the dangers to other wild animals, besides Java rhino?
There are two many factors, objective and subjective, that affect the conservation of rare wild animals in Vietnam.
Firstly, most of the wild animal populations in Vietnam have few individuals. Meanwhile, the outstanding characteristic of the forests in Vietnam is that the forests have been split into small parts. Yok Don Sanctuary, which is considered the biggest one in Vietnam, only covers an area of 100,000 hectares, while the Cat Tien National Park covers an area of 70,000 hectares.
This has led to the fact that animals do not have the opportunities to communicate with each other.
Secondly, the sanctuaries are bearing big influences from human, the thing which cannot be seen in other countries in the world. Meanwhile, the taskforces in charge of preserving animals remain weak and do not have enough officers. Especially, the taskforces do not have legal status, and they do have the support from local authorities and other branches. Therefore, it is really very difficult conserve rare wild animals.
So what should we do to preserve the wild animals which are facing the extinction?
In Vietnam, forest rangers protect the forest and join the protection of wild animals. However, the force remains weak, while their authority remains weak.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development MARD has submitted to the Prime Minister the plan to provide 3000 forest rangers more to 164 natural sanctuaries (there are now 4000 working forest rangers). Therefore, it is necessary to give more power to them and set up a more flexible mechanism which allows them to work more effectively.
The ministry has also established a national steering committee on preserving wild animals with the participation of customs agencies, the police and border guards.
Source: Lao dong