Tiger rescued from captivity and sent to wildlife center

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Authorities at a national park in the north-central Vietnamese province of Nghe An Tuesday handed over a tiger rescued from captivity to a wildlife rescue center in Hanoi, newswire Dan Tri reported.


The Pu Mat National Park said the 170-kilogram male cat is in good health after five months of treatment at the park following his rescue from the house of a local.


But with the animal losing its wild instincts after being kept in captivity since a very young age, park authorities said they could not release it into the wild.


They handed it over to the Soc Son Wildlife Rescue Center in Soc Son, a suburban district of Hanoi.


There the tiger will mate with others for breeding.


Police in Nghe An's Yen Thanh District seized the animal from the house of Le Van Dat on January 1.


Dat confessed he had bought it as a cub weighing 1.6 kilograms for VND960,000 (US$45) in Laos.


He had intended to cook its bones and make traditional medicine.


Late last year the Nghe An police tracked down some captive tigers after online newspapers reported about the widespread practice in Yen Thanh.


The reports said many Yen Thanh residents raise tigers "like pigs" in their houses, keeping them hidden indoors and earning big profits from selling them for their bones.


An adult tiger weighing more than 100 kilograms can fetch VND500 million ($24,000).


The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development urged Nghe An authorities to crack down on the practice and punish offenders.


Raising tigers in unregistered farms violates Vietnamese laws and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to which Vietnam is a signatory.


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