Authorities seize 3 tonnes of pangolin scales in Cote d’Ivoire

29 Jul, 2017 - 00:07 0 Views
Authorities seize 3 tonnes of pangolin scales in Cote d’Ivoire A Pangolin

The Herald

A Pangolin

A Pangolin

ABIDJAN. – Authorities in Cote d’Ivoire have seized a record haul of three tonnes of pangolin scales worth an estimated $82 000, in what officials on Thursday called a “massacre”.

Eight men of various African nationalities were apprehended overnight on Tuesday as they prepared to sell their merchandise, probably to Asia, said police captain Thimotee Gnahore of the country’s transnational organised crime unit (UCT) told reporters in Abidjan.

The shy pangolin’s brown scales are made of nothing more than keratin – the same substance as fingernails but are highly prized in Vietnam and China where they are misleadingly touted as bearing medicinal properties.

Soaring demand for the products has seen an estimated one million pangolins plucked from Asian and African forests over the past decade, shunting them onto the list of species at the highest risk of extinction.

The total haul of three tonnes of pangolin scales – contained in more than 60 large bags – represented about 4 000 pangolins captured in Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Liberia, according to Adama Kamagate with the Eagle Network.

The American group, which helped with the Cote d’Ivoire operation, works with 10 African governments to fight animal smuggling and corruption.

“This is a massacre,” UCT commissioner Bonaventure Adomo said. The seized scales will eventually be handed to conservation services and then destroyed, Adomo added.

According to Gnahore, the haul is estimated to be worth $82 000 on the Ivorian market, but could fetch 100 times that amount on the Asian market, particularly in Malaysia and Thailand.

“It’s a profitable trade,” Gnahore said. – AFP

Share This:

Sponsored Links