Singapore makes second huge seizure of pangolin scales in days

Environment

FILE PHOTO: Pangolin scales that were seized from Customs and taken by the National Parks Board are pictured in Singapore April 3, 2019. Picture taken April 3, 2019 NATIONAL PARKS BOARD SINGAPORE/Handout via REUTERS

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore intercepted a second shipping container packed full of pangolin scales destined for Vietnam in less than a week, authorities said on Wednesday, a combined haul that set a new record for the global transit hub.

The seizure of 12.7 tonnes of scales, worth an estimated $38 million, follows last week’s haul of 12.9 tonnes. The scales in that seizure, the biggest of its kind worldwide in five years, were said to have come from about 17,000 pangolins.

“The container was declared to have contained cassia seeds,” Singapore’s National Parks Board, Customs and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said in a joint statement, adding that the shipment came from Nigeria.

The authorities said the scales in this week’s seizure came from two species, equivalent to around 21,000 pangolins, the world’s most poached animal.

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are critically endangered. They are coveted for their meat, which is considered a delicacy, and scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat aliments from cancer to arthritis.

Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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