Tuesday, January 15, 2008


All the interesting animal stuff happens in Hà Nội: a few days ago, traffic police pulling over a couple of motorists discovered two drugged, but apparently healthy, full-grown tigers in the back seat of their car. At some point during the process of doing whatever it is the police manual instructs in this situation, the tigers woke up. This is the part of the story I like to picture in my mind. Since none of my reference materials* mention just what this looked like, I have considerable license. At some point later the police tranquilized both tigers before eventually shipping them off to an animal sanctuary. This is not a euphemism, these tigers did not go to a peaceful farm in the sky to play with other happy tigers. Apparently the Vietnamese authorities take the international preservation of endangered species pretty seriously. Who doesn't? The police followed a trail to the happy farm above, a freezer containing the dismembered bodies of four additional tigers plus some rhino and elephant parts. They also seem to have, according to the materials, discovered seven live bears. I like imagining this part of the story, too. Surprise! This is all the work of a dedicated ring of endangered species black marketers hell-bent on supplying the world with the magic ingredients necessary for certain traditional potions, and hasn't come as much of a surprise to anyone besides those traffic cops. What is surprising: the complicity of the Hà Nội zoo, where the tigers lived before being auctioned off to, as the deputy zoo director puts it, "raise funds to enrich the collection of animals..." Of course, the zoo only admits to selling the dead tigers, an international crime in itself. Where the gang of medical pirates got the live ones remains a mystery. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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