Vietnamese caught with lion and warthog parts in Kenya
The smuggler reportedly had the banned items hidden in a thermos to avoid the X-ray machine
A Vietnamese man has been detained in Kenya for carrying banned wildlife products. Truong Trung Hieu was spotted acting strangely by authorities at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on October 22, The Star (Kenya) reported.
Customs officers searched his luggage and found the contraband foil-wrapped in a thermos flask. He hid the goods in the flask to bypass the X-ray screening, only to be caught by the K-9 unit at the airport.
The wildlife products included eight lion’s canine teeth, three lion’s claws and two warthog teeth. An official statement indicated Truong was in transit from Liberia to Bangkok and had stopped in Kenya for a layover.
Lions are slowly dying out in Kenya. Their population has dropped from 2,280 in 2004 to 2,000 this year. Paul Udoto, the Communications officer at KWS, said Kenya loses an average of 100 lions a year.
Wildlife products are said to have medicinal properties in traditional oriental culture, with body parts being key ingredients in ancient recipes. In addition, the black market for such parts is worth millions of dollars.