The unknown animal that has killed more than 20 dogs in the central province of Quang Ngai is probably a bear, a scientist was quoted as saying by the Dat Viet newspaper Wednesday.
Le Xuan Canh, chief the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, said based on initial descriptions provided by locals in Tra Son Village of Binh Son District, it was maybe an Asian black bear (Ursus thibetanus) or a sun bear (Ursus malayanus).
Witnesses had said that the animal weighed about 40-50 kilograms, and was black with a white stripe around its chest. Canh said this was a typical description of the bear species.
The species, which are protected from hunting under Vietnamese laws, inhabit central provinces and feed on various food from fruits to small animals, Canh said.
Locals, meanwhile, said they first heard the animal snorting violently last week, intimidating their dogs. The next morning they found many of their dogs savagely killed heads bitten off and entrails eaten.
Cao Tan Son, chief of Binh Dong Commune's police division, said they found the animal's footprints of 12-15 centimeter diameter on sandy area at the foot of the Dinh Mountain.
The case has been reported to district authorities and locals have been warned not to go to areas that the animal is believed to use, Son said.