Vietnam police rescue tiger cubs, pangolins

4 September 2012
Two of the four rescued cubs are seen in a plastic box. They will hopefully be returned to the wild
Two of four rescued tiger cubs are seen inside a plastic box at a police station in the central province of Ha Tinh on September 4. Vietnamese police on Tuesday seized four tiger cubs and more than 100 endangered pangolins from suspected wildlife smugglers, the authorities said

Vietnamese police on Tuesday seized four tiger cubs and more than 100 endangered pangolins from suspected wildlife smugglers, the authorities said.

The animals were discovered in a car in central Ha Tinh province. Two men were arrested on suspicion of illegally importing them from Laos for sale.

"The tiger cubs and the 118 pangolins are all alive, except one pangolin. We will give them all to forest rangers and expect they will be released into the wild soon," said an environmental police official who did not want to be named.

As few as 3,200 tigers remain in the wild worldwide, as they are hunted down for their fur, bones and other body parts which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Pangolins, often known as "scaly anteaters", are also prized in China and Vietnam as food and medicine.

Environment group WWF in June branded Vietnam one of the worst offenders in failing to tackle trade in endangered species -- an accusation which Vietnam denies.