Record haul of pangolin scales seized

Posted by Imogen Searra on 8 April 2019

Authorities seized $52.3-million (R740,330,035) worth of illegal pangolin scales from Pasir Panjang Export Inspection Station in Singapore on 3 April 2019. This amount equates to 12.9 tonnes of scales. This is the largest amount ever to be seized. The previous recorded amount stood at 12 tonnes which was seized in China in 2017.

The scales had come from Nigeria and were en route to Vietnam when they were seized. Pangolin scales are in high demand in Asia for use in traditional medicine, while Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in some parts. There are no actual medicinal benefits to be obtained from the scales.

The scales were found stored among packets of frozen beef and were packed in 230 bags marked ‘frozen beef’. 177kg of elephant ivory, worth $120,000 (R1,698,654), was seized along with the scales.

The Singapore Customs and National Parks Board, who seized the scales, believe that a total of 17,000 pangolins were killed in the process of obtaining these scales.The scales were from each of the four species native to Africa: the Giant Ground Pangolin, the Black Bellied Tree Pangolin, the Ground Pangolin, and the White Bellied Tree Pangolin.

The scales will be disposed of through incineration after an investigation into the matter is complete to ensure that they do not make it to the black market.

Image: Facebook, Desmond Lee 


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