Police in the north-central province of Nghe An seized two tigers from the house of a local resident on Tuesday, following recent media reports about the rampant illegal breeding of the endangered cats within Yen Thanh District.
Acting on tip-offs from local residents, police in Dien Chau District raided the house of Nguyen Van Sang, 57, in Dien Quang Commune and found two young tigers being kept in a four-meter-high iron cage.
The police confiscated the tigers, which weigh 35 kilograms each, when Sang failed to produce papers proving their origins.
Sang confessed to police the tigers were handed over to him on November 2 by Nguyen Thi The, a 38-year-old relative from Yen Thanh District.
The tigers are reported to be in good health. As for what should be done with them, Dien Chau police are waiting for instructions from the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Recently, police in Nghe An Province have been busy tracking down illegally kept tigers after several online newspapers reported the rampant breeding and keeping of the cats in private residences in Yen Thanh District.
The reports say many Yen Thanh residents have been raising tigers "like pigs" in their homes, stealthily keeping the cats hidden indoors and earning big profits from selling the animals, whose bones are often used in traditional medicine.
For example, an adult tiger weighing more than 100 kilograms can be sold for VND500 million (US$24,000).
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development then asked Nghe An authorities to inspect the secret farms where the tigers were allegedly being raised and to punish the breeders. The breeding of tigers with no legal origin at unregistered farms violates Vietnamese law and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to which Vietnam is a signatory.
Upon hearing that police planned to raid their houses, many Yen Thanh residents reportedly hid their tigers in the homes of relatives in other districts.