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Animals can seek refuge in Cu Chi


VietNamNet Bridge - The Wildlife At Risk (WAR) and HCM City Forest Protection Department has opened a wildlife rescue centre to fight against the illegal trade in endangered animals.

Cu Chi Rescue Centre is the first multi-species wildlife hospital and holding facility in southern Vietnam. Its main purpose is to help FPD staff enforce the law against the killing and capturing of endangered wildlife by providing accommodations and care for animals confiscated from illegal traders.

The centre has an environmental awareness facility designed to educate the public on the importance of conserving wildlife.

The facility features educational displays and information about the country's biodiversity, threats posed by the illegal wildlife trade and the vital role of the rescue centre in helping FPD enforce the law.

The main objectives are to raise awareness of Vietnam's unique natural heritage, particularly among the younger generation, highlight the plight of the country's beleaguered wildlife, generate support for the work at the rescue centre and encourage more people to take an active role in conservation.

WAR hopes that the displays will help to change traditional attitudes towards wildlife in Vietnam so that it is viewed as a long-term national asset, rather than a disposable commodity.

Officials hope the facility will attract a variety of visitors including local residents, Vietnamese and foreign tourists, biology students and school groups.

The centre became operational late last year. An official opening ceremony will be held on 17th August 2007. After the ceremony, the awareness building and the less sensitive areas of the rescue centre will open to the public.

Wildlife currently held at the centre includes sun bears, several primates, monitor lizards, water dragons, pythons and a wide variety of turtle species.

Buying and selling wild animals is big business, not only in Vietnam and other countries in Asia, but throughout the world.

The illegal wildlife trade in Asia has reached an extreme. Wild animals are being hunted, killed or captured on a massive scale in order to satisfy the enormous demand for exotic meat, animal skins and traditional medicine that use wildlife ingredients, and to supply the international pet trade.

Some of these animals are dangerously close to extinction. Others are becoming increasingly rare. If the slaughter continues at the present rate, Vietnam's forests, rivers and seas will soon be empty, according to a WAR press release.

The centre also aims to promote high standards in animal husbandry.

(Source: Viet Nam News)

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