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French customs officials seize 2000 dead seahorses

This handout picture shows a part of the dead seahorses seized by the French police in Chilly-Mazarin.
This handout picture shows a part of the dead seahorses seized by the French police in Chilly-Mazarin. Douanes Francaises/AFP

French customs officials said they had intercepted some 2,000 dead seahorses, prized in Asia for use in traditional medicine and as aphrodisiacs.

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The “dead and dehydrated” seahorses – a protected species – were found on July 28 and August 8 hidden in airmail packages sent from the west African country of Guinea destined for Vietnam, it said.

Paris customs official Olivier Gourdon told AFP that seahorses, protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), are confiscated “pretty often”.

He said they are generally trafficked from African countries to Vietnam as well as China and Japan.

In addition to their use in traditional medicine and as aphrodisiacs, seahorses are sold to tourists as souvenirs, Gourdon said.

He did not put a value on the find but some 19,000 seahorses seized in February 2015, en route from Madagascar to Hong Kong, had an estimated value of 200,000 euros.

- with AFP

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