Four hundred boxes of frozen scaly anteaters were discovered by the Philippine Coast Guard over the weekend along the cargo hold area while attempting to re-float the distressed Chinese fishing vessel F/B Ming Long Yu that ran aground along the Tubbataha Reef last week.
Coast Guard Guard District Palawan chief Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista said that crew members of search and rescue vessel BRP-Romblon (SARV-3502) and BRP Corregidor who were conducting re-floating procedures on the distress fishing vessel found 400 boxes containing anteaters aboard and currently determining where these endangered species came from.
Based on the initial assessment of the PCG team present on the site, the anteaters locally known as "pangolins" were frozen and had already been butchered and dressed.
Pangolins are widely hunted in parts of Asia for their meat, skin and scales. In China, they are known as a delicacy and are purported to have medicinal qualities.
The International Union of the Conservation of Nature on their recent statement said that “the rising demands for pangolins, mostly from mainland China, and lax laws are wiping out unique toothless anteaters from their forest habitat in Southeast Asia.”
The said species can also be found in the roaming wildlife in Palawan.
PCG personnel on the site are still conducting inventory on the items which were seized and will be properly turned-over to the Palawan Council for Sustainable development.