|One of the pangolin cages found in the police raid. — Photo provided by local police|
HÀ TĨNH — Police in the central province of Hà Tĩnh have busted a ring of people found to be trading wild animals for meat, saving a total of 215 pangolins from cages.
In an unexpected raid on Wednesday afternoon, police found the pangolins in steel cages at the private house of Trần Trung Thành, a resident of the province’s mountainous Hương Sơn District.
Police seized the mammals and handed them to related wild animal protection and rehabilitation agencies. The police also detained nine locals for further investigation.
Pangolin is a protected wild animal due to increasing demand for its meat and scales in Việt Nam and China. Some pangolin species have been listed in the red book by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered species.
Vietnamese laws prohibit the hunting, killing, caging, trading or transport of wild animals. However, weak enforcement means the consumption of wild animals remains common in localities across the country.
During the raid, police also found elephant ivory in the house of one of the nine detained people. Hương Sơn District is a busy centre for trading wild animals. In the early history of illegal trade in the district decades ago, traders hunted in the local forest. Later, they began purchasing the animals from neighbouring countries including Laos. — VNS