R5m worth of SA pangolin seized in Hong Kong

2014-06-04 12:20

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Cape Town – Authorities in Hong Kong have sized 1 000kg of African pangolin that originated in South Africa.

According to the Hong Kong customs authorities the 1 000kg of pangolin scales were headed for mainland China.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) states that international pangolin trading is banned.

This banning has not deterred wildlife syndicates as the demand for pangolin scales and its flesh is high especially in China.

It has been estimated that the pangolin scales seized in Hong Kong has a street value of R5m.

According to a report on IOL, this is the largest confiscation of pangolin produce in Hong Kong.

Customs obtained the container carrying the pangolin through risk assessment.

The container was supposed to have plastic pets but instead contained 40 bags of pangolin scales.

The vessel containing the container has yet to be named and it is unclear which port the vessel originated from in South Africa.

According to Darren Pieterson, chairperson of the African Pangolin Working Group, 1 000kg of pangolin scales could mean that at least 300 Temminck’s ground pangolin were poached.

Pieterson argued that the trade of pangolin meat has devastating effects on the entire pangolin population.

The Asian population has been in a steady decline according to Pieterson and the confiscation at Hong Kong illustrates that the illegal trade in SA is fairly widespread.

China has a massive demand for exotic and in most cases endangered wildlife.

There are various animals used in Chinese medicine, most especially rhino horns.

Last month a Chinese man who helped run an international smuggling ring that specialised in rhinoceros horns has been sentenced in New Jersey to nearly six years in federal prison.

Zhifei Li was given a sentence of five years and 10 months.

The 30-year-old resident of Shandong, China, pleaded guilty last December to 11 counts, including smuggling and illegal wildlife trafficking.
Read more on:    hong kong  |  poaching  |  marine life

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