October 18, 2009

Frozen Tigers Seized By Vietnam Police

Vietnamese environmental police stopped a taxi Friday carrying four suspected wildlife smugglers and confiscated two frozen tiger carcasses hidden in the trunk. The tigers were an adult and a cub, said Doug Hendrie, a wildlife crime technical adviser with the organization Education for Nature Vietnam.

Two of the suspected smugglers came from Hanoi, while the others were from provinces further south. The suspects reportedly told police they had been commissioned by a third party to obtain the tigers.

The Tuoi Tre newspaper said one of the accused told police they bought the tigers south of Hanoi in Thanh Hoa province and were bringing them to the capital for sale at the price of two million dong (111 dollars) per kilogram.

Shocking as it seems, this is not the first time frozen tiger carcasses have been discovered in a Hanoi-bound taxi. Just three months ago, the frozen carcass of a baby tiger was found in the trunk of a taxi cab, headed for a buyer in Hanoi.

Exploiting tiger carcasses is illegal in Vietnam, but the meat is prized as a delicacy. Tiger bones are often boiled down into glue and used as an ingredient in traditional medical remedies.

Thanks to the active illegal wildlife markets throughout Asia, tigers are nearly extinct in Vietnam. It is estimated that fewer than 200 tigers remain in the Truong Son Mountain Range.


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