Thailand seizes rhino horns in random luggage check

Evrard Martin
Mars 15, 2017

Thai customs have confiscated 21 rhino horns with an estimated value of almost $5 million in the biggest such seizure in Thailand for years, officials said on Tuesday.

Poaching is attributable to the rising demand for rhino horn in some Asian countries, including Vietnam, since many people in these nations believe that rhino horns can cure illnesses, which is refuted by science.

The shipment discovered was worth around $5 million (4.7 million euros), officials said on Tuesday.

The haul of the prized animal parts at Noi Bai airport was found hidden in luggage on a flight from Nairobi, according to the official publication of the Hanoi police department. "The price of rhino horns in the black market now stands at around $100,000 per kilogram", said Somkiat.

"The rhino horns we confiscated this time are the most lovely horns we've ever seized from this airport", the statement said.

"These horns are huge, which means they came from big rhinos", said Somkiat Soontornpitakkool, director of the division in charge of protecting wildlife at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

South Africa is home to about 20,000 rhinos or 80 percent of the global total.

The zoo said it will shorten its rhinos' horns as an anti-poaching measure following the grisly killing of the white rhino in France. However, many experts believe that the real number of poached rhinos is much higher.

South Africa's government has lost nation court battles to preserve its 2009 ban, which was challenged by rhino breeders, and has leaned toward trade, backing a failed proposal by neighboring Swaziland at a UN wildlife conference in Johannesburg a year ago to legalize the worldwide sale of rhino horn.

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