Man caught with tiger, panther carcasses

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Border guards in central Vietnam on Wednesday caught a man carrying more than wild animal carcasses including a tiger and a panther and dried bones weighing 2,100 kilograms in total.

The tiger, weighing 96 kilos, had been disemboweled and its teeth sawed off. The black panther weighed 27 kilos. The bones were that of bulls, buffalos and goats.

Le Hong Hieu, 49, from the central province of Nghe An, was carrying the carcasses and bones in a small truck.

Dieu told guards from Lao Bao international border gate, Quang Tri Province, that a man from Laos had hired him to bring the cargo to another person in the central province of Quang Binh, slightly to the south of Nghe An. The dealers were not identified.

The border guards had been informed by local residents of the truck and stationed themselves at the spot to catch Hieu.

A report by the World Wildlife Fund in February listed Vietnam among the top-10 trouble spots for wild tigers.

Tigers are in great danger of extinction. There are only around 3,200 tigers left in the wild and their numbers are dwindling due to habitat loss, illegal animal trade and climate change, WWF said.

Authorities had seized frozen tiger parts, including two whole frozen tigers, in the suburbs of Hanoi suburbs last October.

Also in February, a man from the south central province of Binh Dinh was fined VND500 million (US$27,100) for smuggling early two tons of rare snakes and more than a ton of other reptiles in the northern province of Thanh Hoa.

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