Police raid uncovers tiger, rare monkeys being boiled down for medicine in southern Vietnam

November 10, 2017 | 10:46 am GMT+7
Police raid uncovers tiger, rare monkeys being boiled down for medicine in southern Vietnam
Police stop the cooking of a tiger and other wild animals at a house in Dong Nai Province on Thursday night. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha

The head and jaw of the tiger were later found in the house.

Police and forest rangers found a tiger and parts of other wild animals being boiled down to make medicine during a raid on a house in the southern province of Dong Nai on Thursday night.

The gruesome find revealed two pots containing the bones of a 200kg (440 lbs) tiger, while another held a mixture of a golden turtle, antelope horns and the skulls of rare monkeys.

The head and jaw of the tiger were later found inside the house.

Police raided the house in the province’s capital Bien Hoa, 35 kilometers (22 miles) northeast of Saigon, at around 6 p.m. and found around 12 people cooking the animal parts. Three warning shots were fired in the air to stop the gang from trying to flee.

Vu Xuan Hai, the 57-year-old owner, has been detained with several employees for questioning.

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 in April last year showed that the number of wild tigers in Vietnam has shrunk to less than five, a significant decline from estimates of between 30 and 50 around five years ago. The number reported in the early 2000s was more than 100.

Vietnamese police rescued one live tiger en route to the kitchen last Monday night and another in May. In April, they also found a frozen tiger being transported by car, while the carcases of five animal were discovered in a man’s freezer in March.

Tigers are classified as an endangered species worldwide as poaching and habitat loss threatens their survival.

Conservationists say Vietnam is one of the world’s worst countries for the trade in endangered species.

Police regularly seize hauls of ivory, rhino horn and exotic species including pangolins, but conservation groups say these represent just a small part of the trade passing through the country.