Malaysian officials on Monday (May 8) said more than $2 million worth of scales from pangolins, one of the world’s most poached animals, were seized earlier this month at Kuala Lumpur airport, the largest haul ever seen in the country.
Malaysia is a major transit point for the trade in endangered species to other Asian countries. No suspects have been detained, and it was still unclear whether Malaysia was the final destination for the scales.
The scales, weighing about 712 kg (1,569 lb) and valued at 9.2 million ringgit ($2.1 million), were shipped from Africa in two separate shipments on May 1 and May 2. The first lot was shipped from Ghana and sent to Malaysia on an Emirates flight via Dubai, and the second was first shipped from Congo to Kenya on a Kenya Airways flight and then transferred onto an Emirates flight and shipped to Malaysia via Dubai, officials said.
Global trade in pangolin scales is banned under a U.N convention, but they are prized in some Asian countries where they were used in traditional medicines to treat everything from asthma to arthritis.