A rhino mutilated for its horn. Photo: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
A rhino mutilated for its horn. Photo: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Malaysian authorities seized 50 African rhino horns worth €10 million (R169m) in this file photo. Photo: EPA
Malaysian authorities seized 50 African rhino horns worth €10 million (R169m) in this file photo. Photo: EPA
A rhino mutilated for its horn. Photo: Susan Scott
A rhino mutilated for its horn. Photo: Susan Scott

INTERNATIONAL – 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 wildlife 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 US, destined to be made into jewelry and home decorations.

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

Authorities found nearly 34kg 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.