No roaring success: Binh Duong’s lax tiger pens
Due to a recent case in which a tiger in Dai Nam tourism park, Binh Duong Province, attacked and killed a zoo worker on September 13, SGGP reporters visited tiger breeding sites in the province to investigate conditions.
We went to the breeding site of Pacific Beer Co. in Noi Hoa Hamlet 1, Binh An Commune, Di An District, where 31 tigers and tigresses are kept.
The first thing that struck us was that the tigers are kept in unsafe breeding facilities, which stand next to crowded residential zones instead of in isolation.
Local residents said that the news of a tiger in Dai Nam’s zoo attacking and killing a worker had made them anxious for the safety of their families, as a tiger had once before escaped its cage and ran into a local resident’s house.
The owner of the house that had once been “visited” by a tiger, Le Thanh Thieu of Noi Hoa 1, narrated that some three years ago, the animal, weighing between 50 and 60 kilos, jumped over the breeding site’s fence and landed into his yard. He and other members of the family ran for their lives and into the house.
Thieu said, “ We stood trembling behind the locked the door while the tiger kept wandering around the house until a security guard from the company rushed to my home and tried to lure him back to the cage.”
He added, “A few years ago, when the tigers were just brought here, the company didn’t bother about building the fence for their breeding site, but grew bushes of Roses of Sharon as a substitute. The fences were built only after the escape of the tiger. Indeed, the local authorities forced the company to do so.”
Although living in a house surrounded by very high fences, Nguyen Thi Chien, another local resident, always feels fearful when hearing the tigers roaring from their cages. She said, “During the rut, the tigers roar all day and all night, particularly between 4am and 5am, I wake up and can never get back to sleep again.”
Aside from living in fear, local people have also been affected by the environmental pollution due to the disgusting odor from the breeding site.
According to the Binh Duong Province Forest Protection Agency, three businesses are currently allowed to rear tigers, as part of pilot conservation projects in the province: they are Thai Binh Duong Beer Co. in Di An District, Thanh Canh Tourist Zone in Thuan An District and Dai Nam Tourism Area in Thu Dau Mot District.
The agency said that after the tiger’s attack on the zoo worker, they could do nothing, but report the case to higher authorities.
At present, there are no official regulations on wildlife breeding nor standards for assessment whether or not tiger breeding facilities are safe.
Owners of the three breeding sites said that they had several times submitted their pilot breeding projects to authorities, but “they were rejected because they fail to meet standards.”
The question is raised as to how non-existent standards have been used by authorities to determine the businesses’ projects.
The nonsensical problem has not yet been solved.
At present, although the businesses have been allowed keep the tigers under pilot projects for some two years now, no one can say whether or not the breeding facilities or conditions for the tigers meet minimum standards.
And local residents living near tiger breeding sites are still apprehensive of dangers due to the fact that some day in the future, the tigers may jump over substandard walls and roar in their homes.