15 endangered otters rescued in central Vietnam

By Nguyen Hai   November 22, 2019 | 03:59 pm GMT+7
15 endangered otters rescued in central Vietnam
Two baby otters are rescued by traffickers in Nghe An Province, November 20, 2019. Photo by Nghe An Newspaper.

15 Asian small-clawed otters were rescued Wednesday from a car on a National Highway 1 section in Nghe An Province.

The car, driven by a man towards northern Vietnam, had 19 baby otters in it, four of which were dead, Nghe An police said. They had stopped the car as they suspected it was trafficking wild animals.

The 15 surviving otters, weighing over 11 kg, were handed over to a wildlife rescue center in Pu Mat National Park in the province Thursday.

"One of them can now eat small fish, 10 can drink milk, and four have yet to open their eyes. Vets are monitoring and taking care of them," said Tran Xuan Cuong, director of the Pu Mat National Park.

A baby otter rescued in Nghe An is fed with milk at Pu Mat National Park, November 21, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Cuong.

A baby otter rescued in Nghe An is fed with milk at Pu Mat National Park, November 21, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Tran Cuong.

Police are investigating the case further.

Asian small-clawed otters are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable, and their protection is prioritized, said Cuong. Their population in Vietnam is falling severely due to habitat loss and over-hunting. Their fur and skin are used for commercial purposes. They are also kept as pets.

Several wildlife products, including ivory, pangolin scales and rhino horns, are prized in Vietnam for decorative purposes or for their purported medicinal effects. As such, the country has become both a transit hub and an end destination for wildlife trafficking.

 
 
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