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Only the passion for the job can retain the officers and keep them working at the zoo. Everyone here understands well that making friends with beasts is a very dangerous career.
Living in fear
Wild beasts, by the nature are always aggressive, and they would be even more cruel when they give birth and get ready to protect their babies. Therefore, the officers at the zoo say they have to “live with fear.”
Nguyen Van Dien, a worker there, said that he has been picking up sweet potato buds and elephant grass to feed hippos for the last many years. However, he still feels fearful when feeding hippos, though he always stays 2 meters far from them.
On the afternoon of July 6, when Dien was bathing the hippo and the child, a reporter tried to take picture of the hippos but he failed to do that. The mother hippo embraced the baby hippo and had eyes wide open to make a threat to the reporter.
Mai Xuan Tinh, a biological engineer, said hippo belongs to herbivore, but they are listed by scientists as one of the most dangerous beast. He found out in some documents that the number of people killed by hippos was even higher than the number of people killed by elephants and lions in total.
Phuong, the ”baby sitter” at the zoo, said that when he wants to feed the baby tiger, he has to bring the mother tiger to another cage. Phuong said though he has been feeding the small tiger for a long time and the tiger has got “acquainted” with Phuong, he still has to keep cautious all the time.
“I fed Tu since the day it was very small. However, it has grown up and has long and sharp-pointed tusks. Therefore, I dare not play with him more,” Phuong said.
The workers at the Dai Nam Zoo have to be very careful when dealing with the beasts here, partially because they saw how their colleagues paid a heavy price for their carelessness. In September 2009, Nguyen Cong Danh, an officer, while planting a tree in the cage of a white tiger, he was killed by a yellow tiger from the next cage. Danh left two children who were at the school age.
Conserving wild animals – the urgent task
Do Thi Thanh Huyen from WAR, a wildlife protection organization, said that hippo is a beast listed in the world’s Red Book, which is now in the high danger of getting extinct. Meanwhile, the number of Indochina tigers living in the wild in Vietnam is modest, possibly no more than 30 individuals.
According to Huyen, some experts have warned that wild Indochina tigers in Vietnam may get extinct in the next 10 years. Therefore, WAR and other environment organizations have called on to take drastic measures to conserve the wild rare and precious animals, urgently.
Breeding and reproducing wild animals could be an effective animal conservation solution, if this can be carried out in a scientific way that fits the real conditions, and especially, if this can be controlled strictly.
In fact, experts still keep arguing about whether to breed wild animals. WAR encourages the activities of legally breeding animals which can help the work of conserving wild animals. Siamese crocodiles, for example, have been bred successfully and they have been given back to the Cat Tien National Park.
Environmentalists have repeatedly rung the alarm bell over the illegal hunting of wild animals in national parks, where the animals are put under the protection of security guards.
In the latest news, Dak Nong agencies on June 26 found two people who were trying to bring bull meat from the Nam Nung National Park to other localities for sale.
Source: NLD, VnExpress/ VNN
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» The people who make friends with beasts (part 1)
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