Officials Find The Horrifying 4,000 Kg Truth Hidden In Hundreds Of Bags

14/7/2016

When customs officials in Hong Kong heard about a shipment of 1,260 bags of "sliced plastics" coming from Cameroon, they were highly suspicious.So they went to investigate. And instead of plastics,they found 4,000kg of pangolin scales when they opened the cargo on June 23.

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Source: @Hong Kong Customs

With a total value of about $9.8 million, it was the largest amount of pangolin scales seized in the past five years.Otherwise known as scaly anteaters, you can recognise a pangolin by its scale “armour”. They will protect themselves from predators with their front legs, rolling up into a ball and using the sharp scales of their tails to strike.

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Source: @Darren Pietersen/ African Pangolin Working Group

Pangolins are themost highly trafficked animal in the world. They are used in Asia for both their meat and their scales, which are made of keratin and in high demand for use in Asian medicine.

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Source: @Darren Pietersen/ African Pangolin Working Group

As a result of their popularity, two of the eight pangolin species areEndangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and two more are Critically Endangered.Unfortunately, the amount of pangolin scales found in Hong Kong means that a huge number of pangolins must have died a sad death so that their products might be exported and sold.

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Source: @GRI

The customs officials snatched up the 201 bags of endangered pangolin scales to look further into the matter, especially as the cargo had not been declared.Their smugglers could see a jail sentence of seven years plus a $2 million fine for importing undeclared cargo,and a two year sentence plus a $5 million fine for importing an endangered species.

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Source: @Hong Kong Customs

Though you may have never even heard of these little creatures, they are in desperate need of our help so that this kind of illegal, inhumane trafficking comes to an end.If you want to help, you can make a donation to the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group, who are working to improve pangolin conservation to prevent their extinction.

H/t: @TheDodo

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