Wildlife trafficking: the animal market in Laos
VietNamNet Bridge - Reporters travelled 2,000 kilometers in Laos recently to discover how wildlife are carried to Vietnam. Departing from Hanoi, they crossed the Long Sap border gate in the northern province of Son La to Laos. 


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The first destination was Xam Neua, the capital of Houaphan Province in Laos. Wild animals such as deer, porcupine and pheasant were displayed for sale in the open air at markets in the province’s central area. Wild animal meat was also available on the side of highways.

The group of reporters was ‘escorted’ by a man named Q, who said he crossed the border gate to Laos regularly. 

Q is a familiar face to border guards. He moves between Vietnam and Laos so frequently that he has to get a new passport at least once a year. 

Q called Lao partners on the way to check the supply. “There are still many chows and muntjacs in Laos. In previous years, the number of wild animals were countless and they were sold everywhere. But traders now have to be more cautious because of the ban,” he explained to reporters.

When they reached Xam Neua Market, it was at dusk. After the greeting, the Lao seller put on the table two muntjac thighs for 60,000 kip per kilogram (VND150,000). 

Wild animals were available at all markets they visited during the journey, from Luang Prabang, Oudomxay to Bokeo and Golden Triangle, which is considered the ‘general headquarters’ of breeding tigers in captivity.

After leaving Xam Neua, the group of reporters and their guide visited Xiengkhuang province.

After hearing that they buyers were from Vietnam, the owner of the wildlife meat stall showed great warmth and invited them to buy meat.

“Most of the Vietnamese people coming here want to buy wildlife meat,” he said. “I guess that you are seeking meat for parties on Tet holiday.”

Wild animals were available at all markets they visited during the journey, from Luang Prabang, Oudomxay to Bokeo and Golden Triangle, which is considered the ‘general headquarters’ of breeding tigers in captivity.

There was an area where 20 tigers, 28 bears and other precious and rare animals were bred in captivity, open to travelers for free.

In a small town in Phongsaly Province, where reporters stayed on their way back to Vietnam, they met the owner of a restaurant on the roadside. 

“I have all kinds of wildlife meat to sell. Meat is sold to Vietnamese, while bones are sold to Chinese to make bone glue,” he said.


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Chi Mai

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