Malaysia Incinerates Three Tons of Seized Pangolin Scales
Close to three tons of pangolin scales were incinerated last week in Malaysia after record seizures made in 2017.
The scales represented 12 percent of Malaysia’s African pangolin scale seizures in 2017 and included 2.1 tons found in West Port, Port Kelang in September of that year. The remainder were from seizures made at Kuala Lumur International Airport involving shipments from Ghana and the Congo. No arrests have been made in connection with the three cases, and DNA samples were taken from the scales before incineration.
Malaysia has emerged as a transit hub for the illicit trade of pangolins from Africa to Asia. Over a seven month period between May and November 2017, Malaysia seized around 19 tons of pangolin scales in 10 shipments originating from Africa.
In September this year, a local businessman was charged in connection with Malaysia’s largest ever pangolin scale seizure of 8.8 tons, the first person to be prosecuted for such a case. The case is currently ongoing.
Pangolins are one of the most heavily trafficked mammals worldwide, with the African pangolins being targeted heavily since 2000 as Asian species dwindle in the wild from poaching pressure. An analysis of seizures by TRAFFIC and the University of Adelaide, Australia, found an average of 20 tons of pangolins and their parts had been trafficked internationally every year from 2010 to 2015. At least 55 tons of scales were trafficked during that period.