The state of Vietnam’s tiger population
The vital safeguarding of Vietnams tigers
November 27, 2009 about News, Sci-Tech
How many tigers does Vietnam have? It’s a matter that is troubling the experts and there is no definitive answer says Dr Scott Roberton from the Wildlife Conservation Society on November 24.
Dr. Roberton confirmed that according to a recent survey by Education for Nature – Vietnam and the Environmental Police department, Vietnam has 97 tigers in captivity, but numbers of tigers in the wild, are thought to be anywhere between 20 and 100.
He said that while it is relatively easy to breed tigers in captivity, if not regulated, it can harm wild tiger populations.
“Is breeding tigers always good for wild tiger conservation? The answer is ‘no’. Increasing the number of tigers in captivity is only good if it is supporting the conservation of wild tigers.”
He stressed: “It is more difficult to release captive tigers to the wild than it is to simply protect existing wild tiger populations and let them naturally increase.”
Trinh Le Nguyen, director of People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature), said that according to the WWF, ten years ago Vietnam had 100 wild tigers.
According to Nguyen, the current number of tigers in Vietnam may be less than 100 because “Tigers require a large area of forest to live andcan travel up to 100km a day, but forests in Vietnam are being narrowed”.
Nguyen warned that wildlife smuggling cases discovered in Vietnam account for only 20 percent of total cases. The local press also report only 10 percent of cases calculated by the Vietnam Forest Protection Agency.
An investigation in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong showed illegal hunting of wild animals remains popular. At least 175 professional hunters are working in the two districts of Cat Tien and Da The in the forests of Lam Dong.
According to the study, hunters mainly work in protected areas like the Bi Doup National Park, Nui Ba Mountain and the Cat Tien National Park. Hunters of Don Duong, Dam Rong and Lam Ha work in Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces. They also go to Ninh Thuan and Binh Phuoc to hunt wild animals.
Hunters say they use many tools in hunting, including self-made shot guns, an AR115, an M16 or even a bow.
A hunter in Don Duong district said his group normally has between four and six hunters. After up to five days laying traps, they check the traps and often collect up to 40 kilos of wild animals in a pine forest in Ninh Thuan province.
Another hunter in Dam Rong district said his group works at night to avoid forest rangers.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org