China: Around The Nation

Tonnes of endangered pangolins’ scales seized in Shanghai

Seizure reported to be largest of its kind in China, with trade in the ant-eating mammals banned globally

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 December, 2016, 1:17pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 December, 2016, 1:17pm

More than three tonnes of scales from endangered pangolins have been found in a shipping container at a Shanghai port after arriving from Africa, according to Chinese media reports.

Three people have been arrested in the biggest seizure of its kind by mainland customs, the China News Service reported.

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The scales are believed to have come from about 5,000 to 7,500 of the endangered ant-eating mammals, wildlife protection experts were quoted as saying.

Custom officers found the scales on December 10 in 101 woven plastic bags, which were hidden on the ship.

The suspects have been smuggling pangolin scales from Africa to China since 2015, according to customs officials.

The case is still under investigation.

Pangolins, the world’s most trafficked mammal, have suffered a rapid decline in numbers due to the high demand for their meat and scales in China and Vietnam.

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

The scales, believed to have curative powers, are used in traditional medicines.

The 182 nations in the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, including China, voted in September to impose a total ban on international trade in all eight pangolin species.