Two wildlife crime cases this week have highlighted the importance of the volunteer seminar we ran last weekend entitled “Leopard cats – not your pets”.
In the first case, a man in Phu Tho province discovered two leopard cat kittens without their mother, and decided to take them home as pets. The kittens were only days old. Tragically, the man lacked the time and expertise to properly take care of these precious animals and both kittens died.
This case is an important reminder that, while leopard cats are small and may look similar to domestic cats, they are protected wild animals and people should never try to keep them as pets. In this case, it is likely the mother leopard cat was disturbed in her local environment and unable to move all her kittens at once.
The second case brings better news, with a restaurant owner in Ho Chi Minh City contacting ENV’s Wildlife Crime Unit seeking to transfer a leopard cat he had recovered. On July 23, a group of customers brought a leopard cat into his restaurant, asking him to prepare it as a meal. He explained that leopard cats are a protected species in Vietnam and offered to provide them with a different free meal instead. The customers agreed and ENV immediately contacted the Forest Protection Department to transfer the leopard cat to Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Center. This restaurateur’s actions provide a great example to others.