Malaysia seizes African pangolin scales

2017-05-09 06:29
A Malaysian official holds seized pangolin scales. (Vincent Thian, AP)

A Malaysian official holds seized pangolin scales. (Vincent Thian, AP)

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Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian authorities say they have seized pangolin scales worth $2.1m believed to have been smuggled from Africa.

Deputy customs director Paddy Abdul Halim says officers made two seizures last week at the Kuala Lumpur airport cargo warehouse based on a tip.

Officers on May 2 seized eight bags of pangolin scales weighing 408kg that were flown from Ghana to the Kuala Lumpur airport via Dubai. Two days later, they found another 10 bags weighing 304kg that originated in Kinshaha, Congo to Malaysia via Nairobi and Dubai.

The consignments were declared as general products and dry herbs, with fake final destinations, he said.

Paddy said the case was being investigated for smuggling of prohibited goods.

Eight species of pangolin, or scaly anteater, live in Asia and Africa and are targeted for their scales and meat. More than 1 million have been poached in the past decade, threatening the creature with extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

In Vietnam and some parts of China, pangolin meat is considered a delicacy, while its scales of keratin - the protein also found in fingernails and rhino horn - are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. The demand is causing rampant poaching that is decimating the pangolin population.

Read more on:    malaysia  |  conservation  |  animals

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