$8 Million Worth Of Endangered Pangolins Seized In Hong Kong, The Highest Recorded Yet

$8 Million worth of endangered pangolins caught in Hong KongA vessel from Nigeria caught trafficking $8 million worth of endangered pangolins. Photo By: Adam Tusk/Flickr

A shipment of nearly nine tons of endangered pangolin scales are seized by Hong Kong Custom Officials. It is the country’s highest record yet for the mammal who may be hunted to extinction because of its medicinal qualities. It is estimated that the scales came from nearly 14,000 pangolins, Hong Kong Officials said in press which includes the display of illegal goods.

The shipment also included thousands of elephant tusks, which are mostly used to supply the illegal ivory trade. The delivery was busted last Jan 16. The contraband was hidden under piles of frozen meat on a ship that stopped in Hong Kong while on its way to Vietnam. Authorities confirmed that the vessel came from Nigeria. The shipment’s value was estimated to be nearly 8 million dollars. According to the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group, pangolins are taken away from the wild for every five minutes.

Hunting of Pangolins
Hunting of Pangolins Photo By: dotun55

The pangolins are the only mammals that are scaly, inhabiting tropical forests and dry woodlands . They are also known as scaly anteaters, because their most favorite snacks are ants. They scoop up ants and termites with their long tongues and curl up into a ball as a defense mechanism to predators. Pangolins grow about the size of a small cat.  There are 8 different types of Pangolins but all of them face the same threat in different stages in Asia and Africa.

In 2014, Prince William said that pangolins are in danger of being wiped out in the planet before most people even heard of them. Although international trafficking laws protect these creatures, two out eight species are currently known to be critically endangered. And unlawful hunting continues to flourish in Asia.

Pangolins are hunted for their medical capabilities. Photo By: David Brossard

These unique mammals which are usually not heard of , are hunted for their keratin-containing scales and are mostly eaten as a delicacy. This delicacy is famous in China, Vietnam and other South-East Asian countries. Meanwhile, the scales are vital ingredients in traditional asian medicine.

According to Alex Hofford, a wildlife warrior from WildAid, Hong Kong Customs certainly did an excellent job, but the authorities need to “take things to the next level.” Because, currently, only the small people who follow orders are the ones apprehended, not the people who lead and plan this illegal act.

Positive changes happen when a lot of people work together. We can help save pangolins and do our own little way of helping conserve this unique creatures by not buying illegal pangolin products, raising awareness and donating to some charities helping these unique mammals have a future.

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