Authorities unsure about what to do with rescued wallabies

By Pham Chieu   November 12, 2023 | 10:48 pm PT
With the wallaby being an exotic species in Vietnam, rangers who rescued four of them from smugglers are at a loss as to how to deal with them.

Rangers in Thach An District in the northern province of Cao Bang last week found four wallabies wandering in the wild.

It was later confirmed that they had been brought from Australia, where they are endemic, by smugglers who dropped them along the Vietnam – China border when they were discovered by authorities.

According to existing regulations on handling wildlife, the options are releasing them back into their natural environment; rescuing them, which means the treatment and care of injured, orphaned, or sick wild animals so that they can be released back to the wild; handing them over to zoos, scientific research, training or environmental education facilities, or specialized museums; selling them; or culling them in case they are sick or pose a threat to the environment or other species.

Since wallabies are considered an exotic species in Vietnam lists, they cannot be released in the wild.

They are not endangered, sick or a threat to the environment, and so do not need to be rescued or destroyed.

Since being found, the four wallabies have been kept at a monitoring facility at the Thach An District ranger department.

Three of the four wallabies that were found by rangers in Cao Bang Province in November 2023. Photo provided by rangers.

Three of the four wallabies that were found by rangers in Cao Bang Province in November 2023. Photo provided by rangers

It has been decided that they will be temporarily transferred to the Hoang Lien Wildlife Rescue, Conservation and Development Center at the Hoang Lien National Park in Lao Cai Province.

But an animal rescue expert, who asked not to be named, said their transfer to the Hoang Lien center must be done carefully and by isolating and checking them to ensure they do not spread any disease to other animals at the center, many of which are endangered and rare.

A spokesperson for Hong Kong-based charity Animals Asia Foundation said any rescue center that wants to keep them must have resources and cages since it would have to raise them until the end of their life.

"[But state-owned] rescue centers in Vietnam don't have much money."

So the spokesperson suggested sending the wallabies to private-owned safaris or zoos instead.

Rangers capture wallabies wandering in Cao Bang Province's Thach An District, Nov. 9, 2023. Video by VnExpress/Lam Giang

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