Endangered tiger cubs and pangolins seized by Vietnam police

File photo of Vietnamese pangolin released after being rescued from suspected smugglers (July 2012)
Image caption About 85 pangolins seized from suspected smugglers were released into the wild in July

Four rare tiger cubs and more than 100 endangered pangolins have been seized from suspected wildlife smugglers in Vietnam, police say.

The animals were found in a car in central Ha Tinh province, they said. Two men have been arrested on suspicion of illegally transporting them.

A police official told the AFP news agency that all the animals apart from one pangolin were alive.

It is estimated that globally as few as 3,200 tigers remain in the wild.

The animals are hunted for their fur, bones and other body parts which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Pangolins, often referred to as "scaly anteaters", are also prized in China and Vietnam for their food and medicinal value.

The WWF conservation and environmental group in June labelled Vietnam as having one of the worst records in the world in the fight against trade in endangered species - an accusation which Vietnam has denied.

Police said the animals discovered on Tuesday will be handed over to forest rangers who will soon release them into the wild.

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