France seizes 2,000 dead seahorses en route to Vietnam

By AFP   August 20, 2016 | 12:52 am PT
Seahorses are used in Asia as traditional medicine and aphrodisiacs.

French customs officials said Friday they had intercepted some 2,000 dead seahorses, prized in Asia for use in traditional medicine and as aphrodisiacs.

The "dead and dehydrated" seahorses, a protected species, were found on July 28 and August 8 hidden in airmail packages sent from the west African country of Guinea destined for Vietnam, it said.

Paris customs official Olivier Gourdon told AFP that seahorses, protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), are confiscated "pretty often".

He said they are generally trafficked from African countries to Vietnam as well as China and Japan.

In addition to their use in traditional medicine and as aphrodisiacs, seahorses are sold to tourists as souvenirs, Gourdon said.

He did not put a value on the find but some 19,000 seahorses seized in February 2015, en route from Madagascar to Hong Kong, had an estimated value of 200,000 euros ($225,000).

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