Four Tons of ‘Plastic’ Discovered to Be Smuggled Pangolin Scales
In this week’s crime blotter: prison for an auctioneer, a bird researcher bust, and a suspected ranger turned poacher.
Hong Kong officials made one of the largest ever seizures of African pangolin scales on Thursday after discovering 4.4 tons (4,000 kilograms) of scales hidden in cargo labeled “sliced plastics” from Cameroon, according to a press release from the government.
The haul is estimated to represent between 1,100 and 6,600 pangolins and be worth $1.25 million (HK$9.8 million), according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an international conservation organization.
Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are nocturnal mammals found in Africa and Asia whose populations have plummeted in recent years. They gained recognition a few years ago when wildlife experts gave them the unhappy distinction of being the most trafficked mammal in the world. More