Tiger weighing 240kg rescued from traffickers' claws in northern Vietnam

By Minh Cuong   September 18, 2019 | 04:49 pm PT
Tiger weighing 240kg rescued from traffickers' claws in northern Vietnam
Police check a tiger caged inside a truck, which had been planned for making tiger bone glue, in Ha Long, northern Vietnam, September 14, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Khanh.
Three men have been detained for wildlife trafficking after a 240kg live tiger they planned for cooking tiger bone glue was found in a truck.

Police said Wednesday that the live tiger was found Saturday when they inspected the truck in Cam Pha, 40km west of Ha Long in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

They have contacted the Wildlife Rescue Center in Hanoi to take care of the animal.

Nguyen Thai Chien, 27, and Nguyen Hong Nhat, 37, said Nguyen Van Minh, 49, had hired them to bring the animal to his house in Ha Long.

Minh said he bought the tiger from a person called Trinh in the central province of Nghe An.

A subsequent raid on Minh’s house led to the seizure of two tiger skeletons, 12 tiger skulls, and three tiger skin sets, along with equipment and ingredients needed to cook tiger bone glue, believed to treat bone and joint-related ailments.

Tiger skeletons found at Nguyen Van Minhs premise. Photo by Nguyen Khanh

Tiger skeletons found at the house of Nguyen Van Minh in Ha Long, Quang Ninh Province, September 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Khanh.

The seized items were sent Wednesday to the Institute of Ecological Resources and Biological Resources as evidence in the case that is being investigated further.

The capture of a live tiger is a grim reminder of existential threat facing the feline the world over. Some estimates have said there are only five tigers left in the wild in Vietnam. A recent study found that from 2000, a total of 216 tigers, mostly carcasses and a few live ones, were seized from wildlife traffickers in the country. It was the fifth largest haul of tigers and tiger parts in the world.

On July 29, Hanoi police arrested three men trafficking seven frozen tiger carcasses from Laos to Vietnam. The gang had been doing it for several years, investigations revealed.

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