Road accident in Thailand saves 88 pangolins
Driver flees car where police found the endangered animals, which will be cared for before being released back into the wild
By Supapong Chaolan
An accident at traffic lights in Thailand’s Kanchanadit district has proved the salvation of 88 protected pangolins probably intended for use in traditional medicines, and by restaurants, in China.
Kanchanadit police station received a report a crash involving three vehicles at traffic lights, with the driver at fault quickly fleeing the scene.
The drivers of the other two vehicles, a pickup truck and a sedan, said they had stopped at the intersection waiting for the lights to change when another car barrelled into them from behind, and the driver immediately ran off.
Police station chief Pol Col Chamnote Kaewkhao said a check inside the car that caused the accident found 88 pangolins in baskets and sacks.
All the seats except the driver’s had been removed to clear space for the animals, he said. The licence plates were false, and police found another set of counterfeit plates in the vehicle.
The accident occurred on the Bangkok-bound side of the road. Police suspected the trafficker was taking the pangolins from one of the southern border provinces to somewhere in a central province, and from there to a neighbouring country.
Pol Col Chamnote said police were working to identify and track down the fleeing driver.
The pangolins would be cared for at a wildlife station in Phangnga before being released back into the wild, the police district commander said.
Pangolins, a scaley ant eater, are protected under in the United Nations’ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and trading in them is prohibited.
Their scales are in high demand for use in traditional Chinese medicine, and the flesh by restaurants.