Thailand Authorities Make Grisly Tiger Seizure


The Thai Navy seized two tiger carcasses and 45 pangolins, and arrested eight traffickers who had planned to smuggle the animals across the Mekong River into Laos, TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, said today.

“Navy officers followed two cars carrying the traffickers in Ponpang village in the Rattana Wapi district of Nongkai Province on April 26, and made the arrests as they were attempting to transfer the slaughtered tigers and live pangolins to a boat,” TRAFFIC said in a statement accompanying photos released to the media.
Eight people were arrested including a Vietnamese woman and her Thai husband. Several others in the boat fled upon sighting the navy officers.

Tigers Chopped in Half

The two tiger carcasses, chopped in half, and the 45 pangolins, two of which were dead, were found inside the two cars, the statement added.The Navy and Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Suppression Division have sent the tiger carcasses to Thailand’s Department of National Parks for DNA testing.”TRAFFIC lauds the Thai authorities for carrying out these DNA tests. Determining the origin of these tigers is crucial if authorities hope to end this tragic trade,” said TRAFFIC Southeast Asia’s Acting Director Chris R. Shepherd.


This seizure is not the first case involving tigers being smuggled across this border, TRAFFIC added”In January 2008 the Thai Navy thwarted an attempt to smuggle six slaughtered tigers, five leopards and 275 live pangolins across the Thai-Laos border. “In that incident, the tigers had also been found sliced in half, while the leopards had their organs removed.”

This January, Thai police seized four tiger carcasses in the resort town of Hua Hin, TRAFFIC said.
“The dead tigers, weighing about 250 kilograms [550 pounds] had been decapitated and were found in a truck passing through Hua Hin in the Prachuap Kiri Khan province.”Police said the dead tigers were believed to have come from Malaysia and were being transported to China.

The following month, Thai authorities discovered the butchered carcasses of two tigers and a panther when they stopped a truck in the southern province of Pattani, TRAFFIC said
TRAFFIC, a joint program of WWF and IUCN, has encouraged governments throughout Southeast Asia to work together to tackle the wildlife trade problem.

Trail of Butchered Tigers

“The trail of butchered tigers winds through many countries in Southeast Asia,” Shepherd said. “Tracking down those who illegally kill and trade these tigers and putting them behind bars is a task countries cannot accomplish their own.” National Geographic News exposed the illegal wildlife trade in Myanmar in a grisly video report and photo gallery in February last year. The footage and photos were taken by wildlife photographer Karl Ammann, who has visited the region four times in the past 15 years, posing as a buyer.

In the town Möng La, on the border between Myanmar and China, which he visited in 2007, Ammann said, “There were cages stacked on top of each other with captured animals: bears, macaques, small primates, pangolins, rare birds, all kinds of reptiles, and tables filled with butchered animals with bullet holes through their heads and their throats cut. It’s one of the worst scenes I’ve ever seen.”



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