Tigers Farmed and Sold for Their Bones in VietNam

Breaking into Southeast Asia’s largest “tiger den”
Cập nhật lúc 09:13, Thứ Hai, 12/04/2010 (GMT+7)
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VietNamNet reporters investigate wildlife trafficking from Laos into Vietnam

The war against Vietnam’s wildlife

The Muang Thong tiger farm is located on Highway 13 about 30 kilometers from Thakhek town. From the outside, nobody would think that behind that small gate is an immense world of wild animals.

It took VietNamNet reporters several months of tracking down information and making contacts before, after a memorable journey to Laos’ Thakhek province, they successfully infiltrated the largest tiger farm in Southeast Asia.

Purporting to be people who had come to Laos to buy tigers to make tiger bone glue, VietNamNet reporters crossed into Laos at the Cau Treo border gate (Ha Tinh) and then proceeded to Thakhek, once a major node on the so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail.

The Muang Thong tiger farm is located on Highway 13 about 30 kilometers from Thakhek town. From the outside, nobody would think that behind that small gate is an immense world of wild animals.

The 200 hectare farm is surrounded by a five meter high fence with sentry boxes set 100 meters apart. It is said that guards are allowed to shoot anybody who enters the farm uninvited.

Luckily, two of the five owners of this farm are Vietnamese people from Ha Tinh province. A tiger trader introduced the reporters to them so we got into the farm by the main gate.

The gate opened and the scowls the guards had given us disappeared. We saw a number of cages with tall iron fences a world of tigers appeared in front of us. There are all kinds of tigers and tigers of all sizes in this farm.

Phan Anh D, one of the two Vietnamese owners, led us to a cage near the farm gate that held two big tigers. He said that this pair of tigers are put into the same cage for breeding. “We don’t sell only this tigers. You can choose any of the 720 animals in this farm, including bears, panthers and African lions. We are willing to sell them”, D said.

According to this man, around 100 tigers were born right on this farm. The remaining animals are transported from Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar. Tigers, both alive and dead, are transported to this farm on daily basis.

D is a Thai citizen of Vietnamese origin. He opened this farm six years ago. He said he initially contributed three million dollars to this farm to learn how to breed tigers in captivity.

“At the beginning, many tigers died and we suffered huge losses in the first year,” D related. “We began earning a profit from the second year, once we knew how to make tigers give birth in this farm. I have heard that it is a big deal in Vietnam whenever a tiger gives birth in cage.  At our farm, several dozen tigers are born annually.”

He said the total value of the tigers in this farm is around $7.5 million.

The tigers at the farm need food worth around $1800 a day. Each adult tiger eats about five kilos of chickens daily. “We spend around $2000 a day but our profit is very high,” D said.

The major markets for tigers, according to this man, are Vietnam and China. “Vietnamese people come to our farm to buy tigers to make glue from tiger bones,” he said.

The value of a tiger of 100 kilos is about $14,000. Smaller tigers are cheaper. About a dozen tigers have been slaughtered to make bone glue right at the farm.

“Perhaps the smell of tigers is too strong, for within a one kilometer radius, no animal dares to come, not even the trained hunting dogs that we breed here,” said a farm worker who is specialized in slaughtering tigers.

The VietNamNet reporters asked D how to get tigers to Vietnam and he said the farm will deliver the carcasses to a customer’s address in Vietnam. The price for tigers without viscera is 3.3 million dong per kilo, COD to the central provinces of Nghe An, Ha Tinh and Quang Binh, and 4.4 million dong per kilo if the tiger is delivered in Hanoi.

He said tiger viscera weigh from eleven to thirteen kilos and a 100 kilo tiger can yield fifteen or sixteen kilos of bone.

The reporters still wondered about the means of transportation of tigers to Vietnam.  “Don’t worry about it,” D assured them. “We have transported thousands of tigers to Vietnam. I will take your deposit worth 20 percent of the tiger in Vietnam. Three days later we will deliver you the goods (tiger)”.

When VietNamNet reporters expressed their wish to return to Vietnam with the tiger carcass, D said: “I don’t want to hide anything here, but this is my job. Set your mind at rest! I’ve taken thousands of tigers to Vietnam!”

http://english.vietnamnet.vn/reports/201004/Breaking-into-Southeast-Asia%E2%80%99s-largest-tiger-den-903784/


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