Malaysia: Pangolin scales worth RM36.62mil incinerated

Mohd Helmi Irwadi Mohd Nor New Straits Times 6 Dec 18;

PORT DICKSON: A total of 2.8 tonne of pangolin scales worth RM36.62 million were incinerated by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan) at the Pusat Kualiti Alam here.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Dr Xavier Jayakumar said all the scales were confiscated in operations conducted by the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (JKDM) since last year.

He said 407kg of scales were seized at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in May, 2017 while 2.1 tonne were seized at the West Port, Port Klang in Selangor, in September.

“In addition to that, a total of 291kg of scales were also confiscated through other operations in July last year.

“Based on investigations, we found that Malaysia has become a transit for the trafficking of these scales before they were sent to Hong Kong, China and Vietnam,” he said at a press conference here today.

Also present was Perhilitan director Datuk Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim.

Dr Xavier said the pangolin scales were brought in from South Africa, Ghana and Cameroon for overseas market.

“We already informed the authorities of the pangolins’ countries of origin to ask for their cooperation to detect this illegal export,” he said.

Dr Xavier also said that they received a court order to dispose of the scales under Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 by incinerating them to ensure they never return to black markets.

The ministry would also work closely with Perhilitan and JKDM to curb wildlife trafficking.

In another development, he said a total of 70 illegal hunters have been charged in court since 2013.

Malaysia torches 2.8 tonnes of African pangolin scales
AFP 6 Dec 18;

The Southeast Asian nation is battling to clamp down on rife trafficking through its borders of the ant-eating mammals, whose scales are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine.

"Such a huge seizure and torching of it is definitely a blow to smuggling syndicates," Abdul Kadir Abu Hashim, the director-general of the Wildlife and National Parks Department told AFP.

Some 3,000 pangolins would have been killed to obtain the 2.8 tonnes (2,800 kilograms) of scales, Abdul Kadir estimated.

The scales were confiscated by customs officials at Malaysia's Port Klang between May and September 2017.

The animal parts arrived in three different shipments from Ghana and Cameroon, and had false local addresses, officials said.

"Forensic examination of the scales showed that it is from the African species," said Abdul Kadir.

Seized pangolin scales are usually meant for foreign markets including China and Vietnam, where raw pangolin scales are sold for large profits in traditional Chinese medicine.

Last year Malaysia torched eight tonnes of pangolin scales, Abdul Kadir said, adding that wild pangolins in Malaysia have become a rare sight due to rampant hunting and deforestation.

Pangolins are also heavily poached for their meat which is considered a delicacy while products obtained from the animal are thought to increase blood circulation and lactation.