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Vietnam seizes rhino horns smuggled from S.Africa

Xinhua / Share:
A giant poster, encouraging passersby to stop using rhino horn, is seen on a street in Hanoi. Vietnam is a major consumer of rhino horn, and a transit point for elephant ivory and rhino horns to consumers mostly in China and the United States. Reuters

HANOI (Xinhua) – Vietnam has seized nearly 34 kg of rhino horns at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport on Friday, just days after the seizure of 10 tons of illegal wildlife products.

According to the Vietnam News Agency, the horns were shipped by a sender in South Africa on a Qatar Airways flight to an individual in Hanoi who refused to pick up the package.

Vietnam is a major consumer of rhino horn, which is believed to have medical powers, and a transit point for elephant ivory to consumers mostly in China and the United States, destined to be made into jewellery and home decorations.

The country bans trade in rhino horn, elephant ivory and pangolins. Vietnam has cracked down on illegal wildlife products as part of its commitment to a conservation treaty, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Last week, authorities in Da Nang in central Vietnam seized around 10 tons of ivory and pangolin scales hidden in a plastic waste container imported from Nigeria.

Conservationists have warned that rhinos will become extinct within the next 10 years if poaching is not stopped.

In 2016, the Southeast Asian nation carried out its first destruction of illegally traded ivory and rhino horn.

The last Java rhino in Vietnam was killed at Cat Tien National Park in 2010.

There are only 25,000 wild rhinos in the world at present, with the population dropping by 95 percent over the last four decades, the agency reported. South Africa is home to some 20,000 rhinos.

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