Five dead tiger cubs found trafficked by car in central Vietnam

By Nguyen Hai   June 5, 2018 | 05:43 pm PT
The cubs' dried bodies were planned to be sold to wine brewers for $3,080.

Vietnamese police discovered the corpses of five tiger cubs upon inspecting the trunk of a car in the central province of Nghe An on Tuesday afternoon.

The four-seater car's occupants Bui Van Hieu, 26, and Hoang Van Thien, 27, said they were transporting the tiger corpses to a local buyer who would have used them to brew wine.

The dried cubs weighed a total of over 10 kilograms (22 pounds) and would've been sold for about VND70 million ($3,080), the men said.

Police have detained Hieu and Thien, along with Nguyen Van Chinh, 33, who had been escorting the haul along National Highway 7A in a different car. Investigation is continuing.

Tigers are facing extinction in Vietnam, where the animals are trafficked for their meat, decorative skin and claws. Their bones are also illegally traded to make a gluey substance some people believe can cure arthritis and make them stronger.

Data from the International Union of Conservation for Nature and national tiger surveys released by the World Wildlife Fund two years ago showed that the number of wild tigers in Vietnam has shrunk to less than five, a significant decline from more than 100 in the early 2000s.

It is estimated that between 3,500 and 4,000 tons of wild meat is consumed in Vietnam each year.

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