Malaysia torches 2.8 tonnes of African pangolin scales

December 6, 2018
Malaysia is battling to clamp down on rife trafficking through its borders of the ant-eating mammals, whose scales are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine

Malaysia on Thursday torched nearly three tonnes of seized scales of endangered pangolins worth $9 million in a bid to deter illegal wildlife trafficking from Africa.

The Southeast Asian nation is battling to clamp down on rife trafficking through its borders of the ant-eating mammals, whose scales are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine.

"Such a huge seizure and torching of it is definitely a blow to smuggling syndicates," Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim, the director-general of the Wildlife and National Parks Department told AFP.

Some 3,000 pangolins would have been killed to obtain the 2.8 tonnes (2,800 kilograms) of scales, Abdul Kadir estimated.

The scales were confiscated by customs officials at Malaysia's Port Klang between May and September 2017.

The animal parts arrived in three different shipments from Ghana and Cameroon, and had false local addresses, officials said.

"Forensic examination of the scales showed that it is from the African species," said Abdul Kadir.

The scales were incinerated at a private waste disposal plant in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, south of the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Seized pangolin scales are usually meant for foreign markets including China and Vietnam, where raw pangolin scales are sold for large profits in traditional Chinese medicine.

Graphic on pangolins, the world's most heavily trafficked mammals.

Last year Malaysia torched eight tonnes of scales, Abdul Kadir said, adding that wild pangolins in Malaysia have become a rare sight due to rampant hunting and deforestation.

Pangolins are also heavily poached for their meat which is considered a delicacy while products obtained from the animal are thought to increase blood circulation and lactation.

Explore further: $1.2 million of pangolin scales seized in Malaysia

Related Stories

Malaysia rescues 140 pangolins from suspected smugglers

November 8, 2017

Dozens of live pangolins were seized from suspected traffickers close to Malaysia's border with Thailand, officials said Wednesday, thwarting the latest attempt to smuggle the critically endangered creatures.

Record haul of pangolin scales seized in Malaysia

May 8, 2017

Malaysian customs officers have seized more than 700 kilograms of pangolin scales, the country's largest haul of the scales considered by some to have medicinal properties, officials said Monday.

Vietnam seizes nearly a ton of pangolin scales, ivory

September 30, 2018

Vietnam has seized around a ton of pangolin scales and ivory hidden inside dozens of boxes on a flight from Nigeria, state media reported, a haul highlighting the illegal wildlife trade routes connecting Africa and Southeast ...

Recommended for you

Computing the origin of life

December 14, 2018

As a principal investigator in the NASA Ames Exobiology Branch, Andrew Pohorille is searching for the origin of life on Earth, yet you won't find him out in the field collecting samples or in a laboratory conducting experiments ...

Black widow spiders dial up posture for survival and sex

December 14, 2018

A new study led by Western University's Natasha Mhatre shows that body dynamics and posture are crucial to how black widow spiders decode the important vibrations that travel through their webs and up their legs. Black widows ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

RobertKarlStonjek
not rated yet Dec 06, 2018
How is this going to deter poachers? By burning the material they create a huge demand as the supply has just been slashed with no change in demand, thus increasing the price markedly and incentivising poachers even more who, for even more money, are prepared to take greater risks.

The way to cut the poaching is to sell the product cheaply and use all the money to fight the poachers. Better resourced security and lower prices will see a steep decline in poaching and therefore in the trade.

People, and governments, deferring to the intuitive solution rather than the pragmatic one actually benefit the poachers and the smugglers have already lost their stock so it makes no difference at all what happens to it unless, of course, it is sold and the government gets the money...that hurts, the market is saturated and the prices drop and the government has more resources to stop the poaching and smuggling ~ ouch!! The poacher & smuggler want the contraband burnt.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.