Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr Lien Thikeo recently issued the guidance as indicated in Decision No. 0188 on the establishment and management of zoos, wildlife farms, the breeding of wild animals and plants, and rehabilitation centres.
The Decision, which is posted on the official gazette, permits individuals, legal entities and organisations to establish and operate zoos, wildlife farms, and wild fauna and flora breeding and rehabilitation centres.
A legally-operated zoo may raise and breed all kinds of wildlife of the third and successive generations, according to Article 11 of the Decision.
The raising and breeding of wild animals by a zoo must be in line with the law on aquatic animals and wildlife, as well as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to which Laos is a state party.
The raising and breeding of wildlife species named in List I, which are categorised as being endangered or at risk of extinction and need strict protection, requires government permission.
According to the Decision, an individual, entity or organisation may establish and operate a wildlife farm in line with the relevant laws and CITES.
But such a farm may not raise and breed species named in List I. Farms may raise and breed third and successive generation species named in lists II and III. These lists enforce less strict protection than List I.
The raising and breeding of wildlife by a farm must also be in line with the law on aquatic animals and wildlife, and CITES.
A legally-operated wildlife rehabilitation and breeding centre may raise, treat and breed all kinds of wildlife that are under any form of great threat, are endangered, or at risk of extinction, as well as wildlife seized during illegal trade or an act of misconduct.
Legally-operated plant gardens or farms are permitted to grow all kinds of wild plant species in line with the Lao Law on Forestry and relevant regulations as well as CITES.
An individual, legal entity or organisation operating a zoo, wildlife farm, wild fauna and flora breeding and rehabilitation centre, or wild plant garden is required to report and update specimens annually, so that their collections are fully documented.
The Decision also prohibits the sale and trade of wild animals and plants named in List I.
However, the sale and trade of wild animals and plants specified in lists II and III is permissible under the following conditions: sale and trade are allowed for the second generation of wild plant and animal species bred at a wildlife farm or garden. The sale and trade must be in line with the relevant laws and CITES.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has categorised lists I, II and III in a separate document.
Some of the wild animals and plants listed in Laos’ lists I and II are also in the CITES’ list.
The import and export of wild animals and plants named in the CITES’ list I is allowed only for the purposes of cultural exchange and scientific research.
The import and export of wild animals and plants named in CITES’ lists II and III for commercial purposes is allowed under the risk-extinction management plan.
Officials said the new regulation would provide comprehensive reference for the regulation of wildlife farms and wild plant gardens, as well as the trade in wild animals and plants.