Rare wild cats found smuggled from Laos into Vietnam

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The carcasses of two Asiatic golden cats found on a bus in the central province of Nghe An on January 18

Police in the central province of Nghe An Friday seized from a bus the carcasses of two rare wild cats allegedly smuggled in from Laos.

The Asiatic golden cats (Pardofelis temminckii)' bodies weighing a total of 22 kilograms were found on a bus driven by Nguyen Van Hao along with 43 kilograms of animal bones in nylon bags, the police said.

The carcasses had bullet wounds, according to online newspaper Dan Tri.

Vo Van Thinh, who owns the Laos-registered vehicle, told the police that the bones and animals were meant to be cooked into a paste, which is considered a health tonic by many.

The police are investigating.

Categorized as "near threatened" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Asiatic golden cats are declining due to habitat loss and hunting pressure.

The species is distributed from the Himalayan foothills to China and Southeast Asia, mainly in forest habitats, according to the IUCN.

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