Fishing boat caught trying to smuggle thousands of endangered pangolins into China

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 November, 2015, 11:52am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 November, 2015, 11:52am

A fishing boat has been caught trying to smuggle the frozen carcasses of thousands of endangered scaly anteaters into China, according to a news website report.

The boat was intercepted in the Pearl River estuary in Jiangmen in southern Guangdong province, said.

Some 2,674 pangolins were found packed in boxes and stripped of their scales.

READ MORE: Pangolin scales worth HK$17m found hidden in shipments from Africa

The anteater’s meat is a considered a delicacy in China and their scales are also thought to have medicinal properties.

Chinese customs said it was the biggest seizure they had made of smuggled pangolins, according to the report.

The animal is a protected species under Chinese law.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classes the pangolin as critically endangered.

READ MORE: Pangolins headed for extinction, in part due to booming Asian demand

It is most trafficked mammal in the world, according to a New York Times report in March, citing wildlife experts.

The species is found in the wild in Africa and Asia.