VietNamNet Bridge – Two men were arrested Thursday for transporting a dead endangered tiger from a central province to Hanoi, according to police in the capital.
Hoang Van Su, 36, and taxi driver Nguyen Trung Phong, 32, were found driving with a 60-kilogram frozen tiger and 11 kilograms of tiger bones in the trunk of Phong’s cab.
Dr. Pham Trong Anh, a tiger expert from the Hanoi-based Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, said the tiger was a baby of about 4-5 months old. He said the bones belonged to at least two different tigers.
Police said Su had hired Phong to carry the tiger and bones from the central province of Thanh Hoa to a buyer in Hanoi. The frozen tiger’s cause of death has yet to be made available.
One kilogram of fresh tiger meat costs more than VND20 million (US$1,123) a kilogram while bone sells for around VND15 million ($842), according to a report from the Vietnam News Agency.
An official from the Environmental Police Department, who wished to remain anonymous, said the case showed the possibility of larger-scale illegal tiger trafficking in the country.
Police said they were following up on the case. Tigers are on Vietnam’s endangered species list and it is illegal to hunt the large cats in the country.
In Vietnam, tigers are only found along the Truong Son Mountain Range in the central region. Experts estimate the country has less than 200 tigers left, as scores have been wiped out to make traditional medicine.
Locals in poverty-stricken Truong Son areas often resort to tiger hunting as the animals’ skin, teeth, meat and bones fetch high prices in major cities.