Over Six Tons of Rare Indonesian Pangolins Found in Vietnam

This handout photo taken on June 9, 2013 and released by Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program on June 10 shows a pangolin in a private zoo on the outskirts of Kandang town in Aceh province on Sumatra island, where animals are displayed for visitors and buyers. (AFP Photo/Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program/Paul Hilton)

This handout photo taken on June 9, 2013 and released by Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program on June 10 shows a pangolin in a private zoo on the outskirts of Kandang town in Aceh province on Sumatra island, where animals are displayed for visitors and buyers. (AFP Photo/Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program/Paul Hilton)

Hanoi. Vietnamese customs officials said Wednesday they had found more than six tons of live protected pangolins inside a shipping container sent from Indonesia.

The rare creatures — known as “scaly anteaters” for their unusual appearance and prized in China and Vietnam as an exotic meal — were discovered last week during an inspection at the northern port of Hai Phong, a customs official told AFP, declining to provide further details.

The container, which was due to be shipped onwards to an undisclosed final destination, provided documents claiming it contained frozen fish, fins and fish bones, according to a report on the Vietnamese government’s website.

Authorities have not specified what will happen to the pangolins.

Naomi Doak of wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC estimated there were several hundred of the mammals in last week’s haul and told AFP there were no rescue centers in Vietnam equipped to deal with such large numbers.

“They’re hard to keep in captivity and feed, they only eat termites… my guess is they’ll be killed and sold,” she said.

Since the start of the year, more than 10 tons of pangolin — both live and frozen — have been confiscated at Hai Phong port, the government report said.

Authorities have also seized 1.2 tons of pangolin scales — which are sought after in traditional Vietnamese and Chinese medicine as a remedy for allergies and to help male potency.

The small mammals are nearly entirely covered with scales, made of keratin — the same protein that makes up human hair.

Pangolins sell for between eight to ten million dong ($380 – $480) per kilogram at restaurants in Vietnam, according to state media reports.

Trade in pangolins is banned by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Agence France-Presse

  • sheldon

    Money talks. In Indonesia it shouts

  • Forgetyourself

    Sick people

  • Yetty

    They deserve jail time. Sick peopel!

  • jaytee

    pangolins, tigers, rhinos, shark fins, the chinese should stop eating/killing the zoo animals

  • Henrietta

    Why are Asian men so stupid about rare species and impotence? The men who use parts of animals thinking they will become more viral should be castrated so they don’t produce more stupid males. The restaurant owners and cooks who prepare endangered animals for eating should be placed in cages and DISPLAYED FOR VISITORS AND BUYERS. The same should be done for the workers at zoos who steal the food that is meant for the animals. It also might work for corrupt Indonesians, put them in a cage so children can see what happens to bad people. What comes around goes around. KARMA