Rhino horns, ele­phant tusks be­lieved from Mozam­bique seized by Viet­nam


Po­lice in Viet­nam have seized more than 700 kilo­grams of rhino horns and ele­phant tusks be­lieved to have orig­i­nated from Mozam­bique, state media said Fri­day.

The haul of prized an­i­mal parts was dis­cov­ered hid­den in two con­tain­ers on board a ship car­ry­ing ground stones at the cen­tral port of Da Nang on Thurs­day, Tuoi Tre news­pa­per said.

“The ele­phant tusks weighed 593 kilo­grams and the rhino horn chunks weighed 142 kilo­grams,” the re­port said, adding that the illegal ship­ment had come via Malaysia.

The fi­nal des­ti­na­tion of the ship­ment was not re­ported but the boat was sched­uled to stop in on Viet­nam’s north­ern Hai Phong port.

Com­mu­nist Viet­nam has long been ac­cused of be­ing one of the world’s worst coun­tries for trade in en­dan­gered species.

There have been a num­ber of cam­paigns to warn Viet­namese not to use prod­ucts from en­dan­gered an­i­mals but they have had lit­tle suc­cess.

De­mand for rhino horn re­mains high with peo­ple mis­tak­enly be­liev­ing it can cure any­thing from can­cer to hang­overs de­spite an ab­so­lute dearth of sci­en­tific ev­i­dence.

Horns are made from ker­atin, the same sub­stance that makes up fin­ger nails and hair in hu­mans.

Tusks and other body parts of ele­phants are prized for dec­o­ra­tion, as talismans, and for use in tra­di­tional medicine.

The rhino horn trade was banned glob­ally by the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora ( CITES) in 1977.

But the trade has flour­ished in re­cent years, par­tic­u­larly thanks to de­mand from Viet­nam and China with dev­as­tat­ing re­sults for Africa’s rhino pop­u­la­tions.

There are around just 5,000 black rhi­nos left on the planet and an es­ti­mated 20,000 white rhi­nos, mostly in south­ern Africa.

In 2011, the western black rhi­noc­eros, a sub­species last seen in Cameroon, was de­clared ex­tinct.

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