China Seized Tons Of Trafficked Pangolin Scales

Posted: Dec 29 2016, 4:37am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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China Seized Tons of Trafficked Pangolin Scales
Shanghai Customs officers inspect pangolin scales. They seized 3 tons of endangered pangolin scales in one find. Image Credit: Ti Gong via Shanghai Daily
  • 3.1 Tons Pangolin Scales seized during Raid in China

The largest-ever stock of pangolin scales were seized during a raid in Shanghai, China. The pangolins are often trafficked for their scales and these are actually the world’s most trafficked mammals.

Chinese officials have seized 3.1 tons of pangolin scales, according to ShanghaiDaily. This was from a port in Shanghai. They happen to be the world’s most trafficked animals. While their flesh is eaten as a part of the choicest cuisine, their scales are used in Chinese medicine.

All of the more than half a dozen species of pangolins are facing imminent extinction. The pangolin is the size of a raccoon and it has a shell that resembles an artichoke. The scales give it the visage of a reptile although it is a mammal.

The moment a pangolin get apprehensive, it curls up into a ball which is very compact. The poaching of pangolins is banned since it is an endangered species. The pangolin scales that were found in the raid in China were mixed up with wooden goods from Nigeria.

The Chinese raid took place on December 10th of this year. Many officials say that the pangolin scales were being smuggled from Africa to China. Yet the whole thing still needs further investigation.

From 5000 to 7500 pangolins must have been killed in order to obtain the tons of scales, according to South China Morning Post. This stash of scales could add up to a hefty profit of $2 million. Yet the strange thing is that these scales are just composed of keratin which is found in human nails as well.

According to some practitioners of Chinese medicine, these scales could cure cancer. The scales in the raid were found sealed tightly in 101 bags. Pangolins have been called scaly anteaters.

Many smuggling rings have been caught red-handed in the past and they all happen to have been engaged in the trafficking of thousands of these animals.

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