Swaziland mounts blitz on tribal healers

AP News
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Posted: Mar 16, 2012 7:48 AM
Swaziland mounts blitz on tribal healers

Police and nature groups in Swaziland say they are mounting a blitz on tribal healers using animal parts in traditional medicines.

Authorities said Friday that skulls and body parts from lions, leopards, crocodiles, snakes and birds were found in raids this month on traditional pharmacies known as "muti" shops. They say several traditional "chemists" arrested across the southern African kingdom are free on bail on poaching-related charges.

Ted Reilly, head of a trust managing the nation's nature preserves, said the heads of three endangered ground hornbills were found in the raids. He says less than 10 of the birds are known to have survived in Swaziland.

Traditional healers in Swaziland usually collect plants and animals at the lower end of the wildlife chain for their remedies.