Friday 22 July 2016

Massive shipment of pangolin scales intercepted in Hong Kong

Hong Kong officials have intercepted 259 bags of pangolin scales weighing 7 tons. It is the biggest seizure in the last five years and was worth around $1.8 million. The scales were found after a routine search and were labeled as recycled plastic particles. They had transited from Nigeria.

Last month another shipment of 4.4 tons of scales was found originating from Cameroon and was also listed as plastic.

Pangolins are also known as scaly anteaters. There are eight species found in Asia and Africa but hunting has largely wiped them out in Asia and now the African species are being decimated. The scales are used in ridiculous Chinese medicine and they are also considered a delicacy.

They have incredibly long tongues - as long as their bodies - which they use to mop up ants with. They are said to be the World's most trafficked mammal.

Although they are widespread in the wild it is still considered a real privilige to actually see one. In all my travels I have yet to get lucky.

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