The farms, which are located in Cay San Hamlet, Lai Uyen Commune, Ben Cat District, are owned by a few of officials from the province, according to a Tuoi Tre investigation.
On Wednesday morning a joint police team conducted the first inspection on a farm that is managed by a woman named Nguyen Thi Diep Hong, who said the farm is owned by Nguyen Van Long, who “was once a member of the Ben Luc District People’s Council.”
The team was accompanied by a number of officers from the provincial forest protection sub-department, the Southern Ecological Institute and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Critically endangered species
While searching the farm, inspectors found six gibbons belonging to Group IB, which includes endangered and critically endangered species, held in cages.
Exploitation and use of these species for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited, and a permit is required for scientific research and conservation purposes, inspectors said.
The team reported and seized the six live gibbons, as well as a live peacock and a stuffed gibbon specimen.
These gibbons include one from the Hylobates pileatus species, which can be imported only when a license from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is obtained, said Dr Hoang Minh Duc, deputy head of the Southern Ecological Institute.
Hong asked the team for to allow her to keep the peacock at the farm, but her request was rejected.
The team anesthetized the animals before transporting them to the Wildlife Rescue Center.
At 10 am the same day, the team conducted a raid on a farm allegedly co-owned by Tran Van Loi, secretary of the Party committee of Binh Duong’s Thu Dau Mot City, and his brother-in-law.
Inspectors discovered that there were three illegally captured peacocks belonging to Group IB there, as well as 18 adult spotted deer, each of which weighs 20-30 kg, and six young deer.
Nguyen Hue, an employee at the farm, received the team and said the farm had raised many crocodiles, wild boars, wild horses, and gibbons, but all these animals had been sold.
The team reported their findings and requested that Hue and other staff at the farm keep the animals from being removed from the farm, pending a decision by authorities.
When asked by inspectors about the origin of the animals in Long’s farm, Hong said, “They were bought by or given to the farm and there are no papers related to them. They were brought from Binh Phuoc Province a few years ago. We once applied for a license to raise them but they [concerned agencies] refused to grant one because the animals are wildlife.”
Similarly, Hue failed to show any documents related to the wild animals raised at the farm.
Yesterday afternoon, Tuoi Tre contacted Loi, the second farm’s owner, via phone, and he said, “My relatives and I own the farm, but the work of breeding wildlife is done in the name of my brother-in-law, Nguyen Van Lap, who began raising wild animal in 2002.”
Loi also said Lap does not often visit the farm, so Loi keeps the papers related to it. He added that he “just grows crops and fruit trees in the farm.”