Illustrative image (Source: ENV)
Hung Yen (VNA) – Hung Yen police said on February 2 that they had seized a truck transporting 81 pangolins, a rare animal species banned from trading.

This was the biggest ever wildlife smuggling case caught red-handed in the northern province.

When being checked, the truck’s driver Ngo Gia The could not show papers proving the legal origin of the pangolins.

He said that the animals were transported from the central region to northern Quang Ninh province, and then brought to China for sale.

The pangolins were handed over to the local Wildlife Rescue Centre.

The Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) has initiated a “zero tolerance” policy on illegal hunting, trading and use of pangolins – which are on the brink of extinction. The animal is sought after for its scales, which are believed to cure a wide range of diseases in Asian folk medicine.

According to the ENV, close to one million pangolins have been illegally hunted and traded over the past 10 years, with China and Vietnam considered the two most critical links in the transnational chain of illegal pangolin traders.

In Vietnam there are two species of pangolins: java Manis javanica and Manis pentadactyla.

According to the Vietnam Redbook published in 2007, pangolins mainly live in the central region, from Nghe An to Lam Dong, and in some northwestern mountainous provinces.

In recent years, Vietnam’s authorities have discovered many big pangolin smuggling operations in Hai Phong, Ha Tinh and Nghe An.-VNA