Chinese Authorities Foil Attempt to Smuggle 956 Pangolins

Nearly 1,000 dead pangolins were seized by Chinese authorities. Photo via news.163.com
Nearly 1,000 dead pangolins were seized by Chinese authorities. Photo via news.163.com

Chinese authorities have intercepted 956 smuggled pangolin carcasses — one of the largest ever illegal pangolin operations it has ever seen, reports China’s state broadcaster, Xinhua.

The carcasses were being smuggled by car through the southernmost Guangdong province, which houses the port city of Hong Kong, and were hidden in 189 cooler containers. The smuggled wildlife cargo weighed 4 tonnes altogether. The driver was arrested and can face up to 10 years in jail according to a recent reinterpretation of China’s criminal law regarding the consumption and trade of endangered species – a move that is hoped to signify a crackdown on the issue by national authorities.

Demand for pangolins is high in China, where the flesh is sought after as a delicacy and the scales are consumed for alleged medicinal purposes.

Last year was deadly for the charismatic and critically endangered pangolin, with over 8,000 pangolins seized worldwide. And since seizures represent just 10 to 20 percent of the actual illegal trade volume, this does not bode well for the vulnerable creature.

According to China’s news.163.com website, the seized pangolins were destroyed by authorities.


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Astrid Andersson is an Annamiticus contributor and passionate wildlife enthusiast. Originally from Sweden, she grew up in Hong Kong and has spent the last five years working as an editor and journalist in both Hong Kong and Thailand's media industry, after graduating with a BA in International Development and Politics from the University of Leeds, England. Being based in Southeast Asia – a veritable highway for the global traffic of endangered animal parts – she hopes to influence the trade and market in that region.