Illegal wild animal trading ring busted in Ha Tinh province hinh anh 1One of the pangolin cages found in the police raid. (Photo provided by local police)

Ha Tinh (VNA) - Police in the central province of Ha Tinh have busted a ring of people who illegally traded wild animals for meat, saving a total of 215 pangolins from cages.

In an unexpected raid, the police found the pangolins in steel cages at the private house of Tran Trung Thanh, a resident in mountainous Huong Son district.

The 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 Vietnam 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. Huong Son 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.-VNA