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Chinese officials seize 3.4 tons of illegally trafficked pangolin scales
Chinese Customs officials seized more than three tons of illegally trafficked animal parts taken from the bodies of dead pangolins at a port in Shanghai, and arrested three people in connection with the case.
According to the China News Service, customer officers found illegally trafficked pangolin scales of the endangered species on 10th of December in a container of 101 bags that were imported from Africa among declared timbers.
The amount of the seizure, 3.4 tons, represents nearly 5,000 to 7,500 pangolins that would have been killed over the recent past. On the black market, the seized scales would be worth nearly $2 million.
The officials determined that the three suspects had been purchasing pangolin scales in Africa and smuggling them to China at least since 2015.
Pangolin scales are used in several traditional Chinese medicines in an attempt to cure diseases like asthma and cancer. However, experts say that those claims are baseless as there is no scientific basis to prove that. The scales in question are made from the same material as fingernails of humans.
All species of pangolins have been listed as “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. China and 181 other countries that adopted the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species voted in September this year to ban trade in all eight species.