By Hannah Osborne
3 November 2015
(IBT) – Customs officials in China have seized 2,674 pangolin carcasses in the biggest trafficking case involving the species in five years. Authorities intercepted the haul on a fishing boat in September.
They found thousands of dead pangolin stuffed inside 414 cool boxes weighing 11.5 tonnes, China's Xinhua news agency reported. Two suspects on the boat were arrested. They later told police they would get 10,000 yuan (£1,000, $1,540) if they delivered them to their final destination.
It is illegal to catch, kill or buy endangered wild animals in China and those found guilty face over 10 years in jail and fines. Pangolins, commonly known as scaly anteaters, are protected under Chinese law.
They are often smuggled for their meat, which is considered a delicacy, and for their scales, which are believed to have medicinal properties. The scales are made from keratin – the same structural material that makes up fingernails and the outside layer of human skin. [more]
Three to four thousand frozen pangolins lie in a pit before being burnt in Medan, Indonesia. This huge seizure was a joint operation between the Indonesian National Police’s criminal investigation division and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s wildlife crimes unit, from a warehouse in Medan, the largest city on the island of Sumatra, on 23 April 2015. A total of 96 live animals were found including five tonnes of frozen pangolins, 77kg of scales with an estimated street value of $1.8m (£1.2m), plus 24 bear paws. Photo: Paul Hilton / WCS