Residents of the north-central Vietnamese province of Nghe An could face charges after being caught attempting to cook a pair of pythons, which they had found on their farms, to produce a type of natural remedy.
Dang Xuan Nam, chairman of the People’s Committee in Nghia Phuc Commune, Tan Ky District, confirmed on Tuesday that a local family had been preparing to cook two pythons to produce a paste purportedly used to strengthen bones and joints.
The animals were later determined as reticulated pythons, Nam added.
On Sunday of last week, farmers in Nghia Phuc Commune were working at a sugarcane plantation when they found a python measuring about five meters and weighing some 30 kilograms.
After beating the animal to death, another python weighing about 20 kilograms was discovered in the same field the following day. It was later captured alive by the same farmers.
The pair of snakes were subsequently sold to the plantation owners for VND5 million (US$220.2) and were about to be cooked into a paste believed to strengthen bones and joints, but also to cause impotence in men.
Le Dinh Bay, head of the forest protection office in Tan Ky District, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday evening that both of the pythons had been killed and were ready to be cooked when authorities arrived.
For this reason, the origins of the snakes remains unclear, Bay stated.
A licensed facility specializing in python breeding is located near the sugarcane plantation, where the snakes were found.
However, it is illegal to kill the two pythons if they had come from the wild, the official said.
In 2016, local farmers caught a similar python that was trying to devour a calf before chasing it away.
Reticulated pythons have an average length of six to seven meters. They are listed in Vietnam's Red Data Book and their hunting is prohibited.