Animal Trader Mike Bester
Mike Bester trading in wild caught primates: http://www.journeyman.tv/?lid=57645&tmpl=transcript
The millionaire private animal collector in Vietnam, Mr Than sourced his rhinos and tigers to be exported from Mike Bester in South Africa. Bester runs a small zoo in Pretoria ( which has been described by one visitor as “shocking conditions and very unsafe” on Hellopeter.com) and he also has an export company “specializing in the international translocation of non-domestic animals and birds”. – See more at: http://www.lionaid.org/news/2012/11/south-african-wildlife-traders-and-their-vietnamese-and-chinese-clients-a-network-of-deception.htm#sthash.9k9HOMI1.dpuf
The shipper’s name is listed as “Bester Birds & Animals Zoo Park CC”; the veterinarian listed in the handling information section of the waybill is perhaps coincidentally the same name as the veterinarian mentioned in this controversial rhino tragedy; and the receiving information says “Vinh Phu-CMT Joint Stock Corporation” in Binh Thanh district, Ho Chi Minh City.
An investigative source noted recently that rhinos were expected to arrive in Vietnam from South Africa, and there is concern that a “rhino horn farming” scheme may be developing. http://annamiticus.com/2012/08/15/rhinos-from-south-africa-to-vietnam-via-thailand/
2014 News on Mike Bester Trading in White Tigers
The animals comprise a couple – a male and female rare White Bengal Tigers, one orange coloured tiger, one female white lioness and another female normal coloured lioness. Newsday http://newsday.co.tt/news/0,192293.html
It is interesting to note that “Bester Birds and Animals Zoo Park of Pretoria” does not list African lions/Bengal Tigers as species they exhibit. In fact, this ‘zoo’ is merely a large pet store/breeding facility.
2014 News on Mike Bester Trading in White Rhinos
PRETORIA – A businessman and the owner of a zoo in Pretoria has sold six white rhino to a conservancy in Miami, Florida, on the east coast of United States of America (USA). The seller, Mr Mike Bester, is the founder of Bester Birds and Animal Zoo Park in Pretoria. He is a member of the Private Rhino Owners Association (PROA). Bester said the sale was part of a conservation project to support the species’ survival. The buyer was the Centre for Conservation of Tropical Ungulates (CCTU) in Miami, Florida. This appears to be a breeding farm for roadside zoos that operate under the banner of ZAA. http://lowvelder.co.za/264347/local-rhino-farmer-seals-the-sale-of-6-rhino-to-usa-firm/
2010 Rhino Scandal
“Alongside Decai, wildlife agency Bester Birds is listed as exporting 24 live rhino, and dealer Jimmy Magill six. Both Magill and Mike Bester denied any wrongdoing, insisting their exports were vetted and permitted.” http://beta.iol.co.za/news/exposed-sas-dodgy-rhino-deals-1320603
Cheetahs Traded by Mike Bester
Cheetahs exported to Chinese horror park
The Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) December 10, 1999
By Fiona Macleod http://allafrica.com/stories/199912100206.html
Johannesburg -Six cheetahs from the De Wildt Cheetah Research and Breeding ‘:entre, oDe of South Africa’s most reputable breeding centres of endangered species, were exported this week to a s;lfari park in China that has been universally condemned by animal welf are organisations. John Wedderburn, ofthe Asian Animal Protection Network, describes arecent visit to the XiIi Lake Safari Park in Southern China: “The elephants have a large paddock but are kept chained in a corner and are made to do demeaning tricks. “When we approached the hippopotamus pool, the keepers beat the animals with bamboo poles to force them out ofthe water so we could see them better.
“There are regular performance shows in a big arena, but the worst feature is the photography area: a drugged, declawed, de-toothed tiger is struck on the mouth to make him snarl while the client sits beside him looking triumphant; a bear is made to stand up and snarl by the owner pulling a string that goes over a pulley and down to a ring in his tipper lip; a terrified deer is held down while children sit on it.”
Live domestic animals are red to tigers, under the pretence that ibis keeps them vrild. But the welf are organisations say they are never retumed to the wild, and even if they were they would be shot because they have developed a taste für livestock. Wedderburn says at least six major international animal welf are organisations have visited the park in recent years and condemned it.
They called für a boycott of the park by tourists and travel agents in 1997 after newspaper reports about ill-treatment of the animals.
De Wildt sold the six young cheetahs to Pretoria wildlife trader Mike Bester about a month ago, and they were shipped out last Fnday.
De Wildt’s director, Anne van Dijk, says they fetched a price of about $4,500 each.
Cheetahs are listed as highly endangered, but when they are bred in captivity the normal regulations that apply to endangered species are relaxed. South African animal welfare organisations expressed concern this week at the involvement of a reputable centre like De Wildt in the growing weekly shipments ofwildlife from this country to China. They point out that although China recently signed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, it has no animal welfare laws like those in South Africa. Van Dijk says she was aware the cheetahs were going to the XiIi Lake park, but she knew nothing about its notoriety before they were sent there.