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Back to Regulations Concerning the Private Possession of Big Cats

I.  Vietnam and CITES

Vietnam signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)[1] in 1994.  The tiger is listed in Appendix I of the CITES.  Pursuant to Vietnamese law, it is illegal to trade illegally caught wild tigers.[2] 

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II.  Conditions on Breeding and Rearing Endangered Wild Animals

It appears that stocks of tigers are bred in captivity in Vietnam.[3]  A regulation sets conditions for farms that breed and rear animals, including tigers, that are listed in the Appendices to the CITES.  Among others, those conditions include the following (as stated in a government-provided translation):

  1. Cages and farms are constructed in suitability to the characteristics of the reared species and the production capacity of the farms.
  2. Registering the farms for breeding of animal species which have been certified in writing by CITES scientific bodies of Vietnam as having the capability to reproduce many successive generations in the controlled environment.
  3. Registering the farms for breeding of animal species, the breeding of which has been certified in writing by CITES scientific bodies of Vietnam as having not affected the conservation of such species in nature.
  4. Ensuring safety for humans and environmental sanitation under the State’s regulations.
  5. Having professionals meeting the requirements of management and techniques of breeding, rearing and tending the reared species and preventing diseases and epidemics.
  6. Organizations, households and individuals exploiting broods and/or eggs from the nature for breeding, hatchery for commercial purposes must obtain permission from the appropriate management bodies.[4]

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III.  Tiger Farms

According to media reports, the Prime Minister made a decision in 2007 that four private farms would continue to raise dozens of pet tigers.  The tigers held in captivity in southern Binh Duong Province had generated a high-profile national debate since 2000.  Initially, Vietnamese agriculture officials asked the Prime Minister to allow them to confiscate forty-one tigers and transfer them to semi-wild facilities.  However, when the Prime Minister visited one of the farms, he found the animals were well cared for.  Therefore, he made the decision to allow the private farms to continue the tiger farms, despite conservation groups’ strong opposition.  No other private farms were permitted to open, under the Prime Minister’s ruling.[5]  That ruling also provided only temporary permits.[6]

In 2009, provincial inspectors found that three private farms/zoos for wild animals in Binh Duong Province failed to meet required technical and safety standards, and the registration certificates of these farms had also expired.  The three companies had a total of fifty-three tigers.  Despite violations, it appears that permits were extended for the three companies.[7]

As of 2012, it appears that there were eleven registered tiger farms in Vietnam, including public facilities and zoos.[8]  According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, forty-nine of the 112 tigers living on the eleven registered tiger farms were born in captivity.[9]  The government has suggested setting some of captive tigers free in the wild to increase the wild tiger population.[10]

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Sayuri Umeda
Foreign Law Specialist
June 2013


[1] Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Mar. 3, 1973, 27 U.S.T. 1087, T.I.A.S. 8249, 993 U.N.T.S. 243,, as amended, June 1, 1979, T.I.A.S. 11079, and Apr. 30, 1983, http://www.cites. org/eng/disc/gaborone.php (Gaborone Amendment).

[2] Decree on Management of Endangered, Precious and Rare Forest Plants and Animals, No: 32/2006/ND-CP (Mar. 30, 2006), art. 5,

[3] Vietnam’s Tiger Farms Are Called Trafficking Hubs, Fox News, July 27, 2012, scitech/2012/07/27/vietnam-tiger-farms-are-called-trafficking-hubs/.

[4] Decree No. 82/2006/ND-CP on management of export, import, re-export, introduction from the sea, transit, breeding, rearing and artificial propagation of endangered species of precious and rare wild fauna and flora, Aug. 10, 2006, art. 10,

[5] Vietnam Allows Four Private Farms to Raise Pet Tigers, (Apr. 6, 2007), news/world/06-04-2007/89201-tigers-0/.

[6] Fox News, supra note 3.

[7] Quang Thuan, Vietnam Tiger Farm in Violations [sic], Thanh Nien News (July 28, 2009), available at

[8] Jake Brunner, Tiger Conservation: There Is a Way, But Is There a Will?, Thanhnien (Dec. 28, 2012),

[9] Fox News, supra note 3.

[10] Id.  See also News Release, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, MONRE Drafts National Tiger Conservation Programme by 2022 (Apr. 27, 2012),