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Lao gov't warns illegal activities against protected species

VIENTIANE, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Lao government has warned poachers, traders and businesses not to hunt, sell or display prohibited or protected wildlife and aquatic species, including live animals, carcasses, their remains or their organs, local media reported Tuesday.

Lao Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sommad Pholsena issued an order that prohibits all parties from involvement in all forms of illegal activity with regard to protected species, the Vientiane Times reported.

Restaurants, hotels and guesthouses are also prohibited from offering food that contains any part of these species.

Minister Sommad instructed central and local officials to employ necessary measures to prevent all parties from hunting all kinds of fish and animals from May 1 to Oct. 31 -- the annual breeding season. He asked local authorities to assign teams of technical officials to carry out regular inspections in various fish conservation areas to prevent illegal fishing.

The minister warned all parties against the possession of prohibited and protected wildlife and aquatic animals, their remains or organs, including elephant ivory. Remains and organs are not to be collected or removed from their original habitat for individual possession.

Sommad asked officials to disseminate the Law on Wildlife and Aquatic Animals to a wider cross section of the public to encourage them to observe the law and hand over illegal hunting equipment to the authorities.

The warning came as wildlife and aquatic animals are under threat due to the widespread hunting of wildlife and illegal fishing in rivers, said the report on Tuesday.

The popularity of wild animals for consumption has driven the price of their meat higher. This has encouraged poachers to continue to hunt prohibited and protected species, which are sold in markets in provinces and suburbs of Lao capital Vientiane.

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