Conservationists have criticized the Tay Ninh Forest Protection Agency for illegally licensing many families to raise pangolins in the southern province.
“It is for commercial purposes and violates laws on protecting endangered and rare wild species,” Bui Thi Ha, deputy director of conservation NGO Education for Nature – Vietnam, told the media.
Recently many families in Tay Ninh have managed to obtain licenses to farm Javan and Chinese pangolins.
Ha cited a 2006 government decree as saying that a wild animal species that is allowed for farming must be approved by CITES Vietnam as being able to breed for several generations in captive conditions.
The farming must not affect the species’ conservation in the wild, she said.
CITES has not given approval and thus the licensing was illegal, she said.
Many scientists have opposed the idea of farming pangolins.
Le Xuan Canh, former director of the Hanoi-based Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, said pangolins are unsuitable for captive breeding.
“Raising them in captive conditions is already a challenge, not to mention breeding. Moreover, it has a long reproduction cycle.”
Tran Quang Phuong, a conservationist at the Cuc Phuong National Park, said a program to conserve pangolins has seen eight captive pangolins give birth in the past decade.
“However, all of them were pregnant before being brought to the center. Only one mother and baby were successfully reintroduced into the wild.”
Ha warned, “Some people may abuse the license to legalize smuggled and poached animals.”
The Tay Ninh Forest Protection Agency said it followed regulations while licensing.
It claimed that the Cuc Phuong National Park was successful in captive breeding of pangolins.
According to the International Union for Conversation of Nature, pangolins are one of the most poached and smuggled mammal species worldwide, with about 1 million individuals falling victim in the past decade.
ENV said that between 2012 and 2014 more than 34.3 tons of frozen pangolins and scales had been seized at Hai Phong Port alone.