Vietnam official probed for posing with endangered animals in Facebook pics

Thanh Nien News

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Thieu Quoc Ky poses with a Sunda flying lemur. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre Thieu Quoc Ky poses with a Sunda flying lemur. Photo credit: Tuoi Tre

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Authorities in the central province of Quang Nam are looking into accusations that a local agriculture official has been involved in the poaching of wild Sunda flying lemurs, which are being hunted and killed for meat by locals. 
“Sunda flying lemurs are an endangered species and it is illegal to hunt them,” said Phan Tuan, the provincial chief park ranger. 
There was a strong public backlash after Thieu Quoc Ky, an agriculture official of Tay Giang District, posted photos of himself holding several Sunda flying lemurs on his Facebook. In some of them, he was pulling the legs of the animals. 
Responding to a comment to his post, Ky said he was not worried about the police because "they could not do anything in this case." 
Ky said he was not involved in the killing of the lemurs and only borrowed the animals from traders to take pictures. 
He said he was not aware that the species is protected.
“Many restaurants in the district serve flying lemurs,” Tuoi Tre quoted Ky as saying.
Tran Thi Cuc, owner of a restaurant near a local police station, showed a fridge full of frozen flying lemurs.
Cuc said she bought the lemurs from local residents for VND350,000 (US$15.5) per animal and reselling for VND450,000.
In October, four men in Quang Nam were fined a total of VND6 million for killing two wild weasels after some photos of the slaughtering posted on their Facebook pages caught the authorities' attention.

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