Vietnam police seize rare animal parts

January 13th, 2009 - 3:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Hanoi, Jan 13 (DPA) Vietnamese police have seized two tonnes of rare animal remains including bear legs and tiger skins from a store in Hanoi, an official said Tuesday.Nguyen Viet Tien, deputy head of Hanoi’s environmental police, said the animal parts were found at a store in the capital’s Dong Da district. These include seven frozen bear legs and gall bladders, six sets of tiger skins and the intestines of six porcupines.

Police arrested the store’s owner, Nguyen Thi Thanh Tam. She reportedly admitted to having traded in wild animals for the past ten years.

“Each kilogram of animal remains sells for an average price of 300,000 dong ($17) on the black market,” said Tien.

Vietnam has signed the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, and wild animal traffickers are subject to large fines and imprisonment. But trade in rare animals for food, decorative and medicinal uses is still widespread.

Vietnamese authorities Saturday said police had uncovered 1,300 cases of illegal wildlife smuggling in 2008, confiscated 20,000 animals and 60 tonnes of exotic products.

Local media quoted Ngo Ba Oanh, director of the Soc Son Wildlife Rescue Center outside Hanoi, as saying that rescue activities could only save some 50 percent of threatened species, due to lack of staff and poorly designed regulations regarding wildlife trafficking.

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