A Vietnamese man has been arrested for attempting to smuggle tiger bones and an entire tiger skin to China, where illegal wildlife trade is common, last Thursday, according to local police.
Guards at the border in Vietnam’s northern Quang Ninh province discovered a full tiger hide and five bones that weighed a total of 5.4 kilograms (12 pounds).
“The man attempted to bring the tiger items across the border,” a border station official in Quang Ninh has told AFP on Thursday.
The illegal trade of tiger parts is slowly being more common along with ivory, rhino horn and pangolin scales. Selling of tiger parts has also shifted online in recent years, which made it harder for the government to track down the industry.
Tiger skin is priced at about $6,000 in Vietnam and $10,000 in China, according to the Vietnamese state media. Their skin is highly prized in Vietnam, since it is most commonly used for decoration, their teeth and claws for jewelry.
Meanwhile, their bones can sell for $1,000 per one hundred grams in Vietnam. The bones, along with whiskers, and paws, are used for traditional medicine.
Tigers in Vietnam used to roam around freely in the forests, but the last time a wild tiger has been photographed in the wild is in 1997, so it is unknown how many remains today.
However, wild tiger populations have dropped by 97 percent globally over the past century and they are now listed as an endangered species by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).