October 12, 2018 / 11:29 AM / 5 days ago

Vietnam seizes 13 rhino horns shipped from South Africa

HANOI (Reuters) - Authorities in Vietnam seized 13 rhinoceros horns and related items from South Africa on Friday, just two weeks after the seizure of a ton of illegal wild life products, state media said.

Vietnam is a major consumer of rhino horn, which is believed to have medical powers, and a transit point for elephant ivory to consumers mostly in China and the United States, destined to be made into jewelry and home decorations.

The communist country bans trade in rhino horn, elephant ivory and pangolins, but weak law enforcement has allowed a black market to flourish and supply a global multi-billion-dollar industry in animal parts and exotic pets.

Authorities found nearly 34 kg (75 lb) of rhino horns was shipped by a sender in South Africa on a Qatar Airways flight to an individual in Vietnam who refused to pick up the package, state-run Vietnam Plus said.

Vietnam has cracked down on illegal wildlife products as part of its commitment to a conservation treaty, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

Last month, authorities in Hanoi seized nearly a ton of elephant ivory and related products and pangolin scales from Nigeria, Vietnam Plus said.

In 2016, the Southeast Asian nation carried out its first destruction of illegally traded ivory and rhino horn.

Reporting by Mai Nguyen; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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