Vietnamese rangers look for alleged bear killer in Facebook photo

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A Vietnamese man poses with a bear he allegedly killed in a Facebook photo

Forest rangers in the northern province of Bac Giang are checking local bear farms after a man, suspected to be a local, posted a photo of himself with a bear he allegedly killed on Facebook.

In the photo he shows a thumbs-up and has his other arm on a dead bear. The same day, December 11, he posted what looked like bear's teeth and offered to sell them.

Duong Xuan Banh, the province's chief forest ranger, said Saturday his agency is investigating if a bear was indeed slaughtered, and would ensure the person responsible is brought to justice.

Banh said many families breed bears with licenses, but the deaths reported so far have been natural.

Le Mai Hanh of Education for Nature Vietnam, an NGO which focuses on environmental protection, said bears are highly protected in Vietnam and killing an animal could fetch up to seven years in jail.

But she said, looking at his Facebook friends, the man in the photo could be in Malaysia rather than Bac Giang.

Even if the killing had occurred in Malaysia, her NGO would do everything it could to ensure it is condemned, she promised.

"The action deserves criticism and has violated international conventions on wildlife protection."

The Facebook account was closed soon after the posts, which elicited reprobation from other Facebook users.

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