A freshly killed 250 kg tiger was found after police raided a house in the central province of Ha Tinh.
The provincial environmental police department said Wednesday they had cooperated with police of Huong Son District to raid a house belonging to 49-year-old Dinh Nhat Nghe on Tuesday night.
They found a large tiger, weighing over 250 kg, lying on the floor. Its hind legs were bound with chains and blood was oozing from its mouth. The police suspect that a large boiler nearby was being used to cook animal bones.
Nghe and his wife, Nguyen Thi Yen, were not present in the house during the raid. Three other people, including 16-year-old Dinh Nho Quyen, Nghe’s son, said they had nothing to do with the dead tiger.
On Wednesday morning, Nghe and Yen turned themselves in, saying they owned the tiger. They are being investigated for illegally storing and butchering wild animals. Authorities allege that the pair cooked animal bones and sold them.
The tiger’s body would either be handed over to science institutions for research purposes or be disposed of, the Ha Tinh forest ranger department said.
Tigers are critically endangered in Vietnam, with only five thought to be left in the wild in 2016, down from 30 in 2011, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Animal bones of certain species, including tigers and langurs, are thought by some in Vietnam to have medicinal properties.
It is illegal to hunt, kill, possess, capture, transport, or trade protected animals in the country, with violations carrying penalties of up to 15 years in prison and fines up to VND15 billion ($645,000).
Reported by Duc Hung, @Vnexpress