From: WWF
Published March 21, 2008 09:25 AM

Tons of pangolins seized in a week

This month, customs inspectors and enforcement officers took possession of more than 16 tons of pangolins at Hai Phong port in Viet Nam. It is the largest seizure of these animals ever in the country.

About seven tons of pangolin carcasses and scales were seized by customs at the same place, at the end of February. At least 2460 carcasses and 900 kg of scales were recovered.

TRAFFIC praised the Viet Nam customs for its swift action and sound investigative work.

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“The seizure is a great step towards combating illegal wildlife trade in Viet Nam”, said Sulma Warne, Programme Coordinator, TRAFFIC Greater Mekong Programme.

Customs officials acknowledged TRAFFIC’s assistance in preparing them for the latest operation, through earlier training in implementation of CITES regulations.

“Customs officers are well informed of the spectrum of wildlife trade in Viet Nam and the ways with which it can be illegally transported,” said Warne.

According to the authorities, in both seizures the cargoes were found in containers registered as fresh fish belonging to an import-export business located in Quang Ninh, on the North of Viet Nam.

These scaly anteaters are found throughout Southeast Asia and are protected under Vietnamese Law, which restricts any trade or transport. They are also protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Pangolin trade was banned in 2000. However, pangolins are still sold as meat and traditional medicines in many Asian countries.

No suspects have been detained, but investigations are currently going on.

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