Illustrative Image (Source: nhandan.com.vn)

Hanoi(VNA) – Commercial breeding and trading of wild animals should be banned in Vietnam as it will decimate numbers in endangered species and drive them to the verge of extinction.

Bui Thi Ha, Vice Director of the conservation NGO Education For Nature Vietnam (ENV) made the proposal at the wildlife breeding press conference held in Hanoi on July 27.

The increasing illegal trade in wild animals has been a major factor that affects the environment and biodiversity in Vietnam. The last individual Java rhino in the country was killed by poachers for its horns in 2010. Other precious animals like tigers, elephants, crocodiles, pangolins and primates are also on the brink of extinction.

While the number of endangered animals is dwindling every day, some private organisations and individuals are expressing their interest in breeding animals commercially. They said that legalisation of wildlife breeding will ease up the pressure from hunting wild animals, while promoting genetic conservation.

However, experts, scientists and policy-makers said that the activity will lead to the demise of endangered species in Vietnam and neighbouring countries.

According to the ENV, breeding practices are not for conservation and natural reserves need a stable capital to protect endangered species. Commercial breeding centres will not invest in sufficient infrastructure and techniques to take care of the animals as profits are their overriding priority.

The existence of both legal and illegal at-risk animal products will be a challenge for law enforcement as there is an increasing number of violators.

In addition, demands for products made from endangered species is expected to surge if they are circulated in the market. This result in an increase in the hunting of natural wildlife animals to meet such demands.

The ENV said that breeding is acceptable when there is scientific evidence confirming that the practice does not affect wildlife populations. However, for now commercial breeding of rare animals must be proscribed.-VNA