Singapore authorities seize 12.7 tonnes of pangolin scales in 2nd haul within a week

Singapore authorities seize 12.7 tonnes of pangolin scales in 2nd haul within a week

Pangolin scales seized NParks
12.7 tonnes of pangolin scales were seized on Apr 8, 2019. (Photo: NParks)

SINGAPORE: Singapore has intercepted another illegal shipment of pangolin scales just five days after a record haul was seized.

The second haul was detected on Monday (Apr 8) in a 40-footer container that was on its way from Nigeria to Vietnam, the National Parks Board (NParks), Singapore Customs and Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said in a media release on Wednesday. 

The container was declared to contain cassia seeds, but upon inspection, 12.7 tonnes of pangolin scales worth about US$38 million (S$52 million) were uncovered, authorities said.

The pangolin scales, which filled 474 bags, came from two species and around 21,000 pangolins would have been killed for them.

The scales seized were from the giant ground pangolin and the white-bellied tree pangolin, said NParks. Both species are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Pangolin scales seized Customs
Among the scales seized were those of the Giant Ground Pangolin. (Photo: NParks)

READ: Nearly 13 tonnes of pangolin scales worth S$52 million seized in Singapore 

Combined with the nearly 13-tonne find last week, the total amount of pangolin scales seized on Apr 3 and Apr 8 is a record 25.6 tonnes. 

In 2015 and 2016, Singapore made two pangolin scales seizures, amounting to 440kg.

Pangolin scales seized ICA
12.7 tonnes of pangolin scales packed into 474 gunny sacks. (Photo: NParks)

International trade in pangolin is prohibited under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which Singapore is a signatory to.

Under Singapore's Endangered Species (Import & Export) Act, anyone convicted of the illegal import, export and re-export of wildlife, their parts and derivatives can be fined up to S$500,000 and/or jailed up to two years.

Pangolin scales are used in traditional medicines in East Asia despite little evidence that they have any curative effects.

Source: CNA/hm(ms)

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