Vietnam must focus on protecting its 50 wild tigers: conference

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VietnamNet English - 59 month(s) ago 2 readings

Vietnam must focus on protecting its 50 wild tigers: conference

Pham Mau Giao, a professor who has roamed forests nationwide for 45 years studying Vietnam’s Indochinese Tiger (Panthera tigris corbetti), said authorities should invest in preservation efforts at a few spots where larger natural tiger populations still remain, rather than spreading funds too thin over every place a tiger is found.

VietNamNet Bridge - Tigers are disappearing from their natural habitats in Vietnam and authorities need to protect them better, experts told a Friday conference in Hanoi.

Nguyen Manh Ha from the Environment and Resources Research Center at the Vietnam National University-Hanoi (VNU-Hanoi) told the conference that Vietnam now has less than 50 tigers living naturally within its borders.

“Without optimal conservation measures, our tigers will be extinct in 10 years,” Ha said.

Giao said that he could easily see tigers or their footprints in several of Vietnam’s forests only 20 years ago. But now he has to trek for weeks before finding even a trace of a tiger, he said.

Tigers are hardly existent deep in Vietnam, but only around the Laos and Cambodia borders, he added.

“I’m seeing a very bad picture. The path towards extinction for our tigers is very clear already.”

The reasons, according to Ha, are that Vietnam’s forest area is shrinking, as are the supplies of the animal’s natural prey such as deer, muntjac and boar, which have all been overhunted.

He said measures should be taken to minimize profits on the tiger trafficking blackmarket and to convince people that tiger products are not the panaceas that many local residents believe they are.

From 2007 to July 2009, police seized 11 frozen tigers and six tiger skeletons, colonel Luong Minh Thao from the Ministry of Public Security said at the conference.

The Vietnam Red Book, a catalogue of endangered species here, listed the Indochinese Tiger as a species facing extinction in Vietnam in 2007.

The country has another 95 tigers kept in captivity at zoos, farms and circuses, according to figures from the ministry.

VietNamNet/Thanh Nien

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