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police in Vietnam have seized more than five tonnes of pangolin scales

The police in Vietnam have seized more than five tonnes of pangolin scales stashed in a cashew shipment from Nigeria, the government said Friday.

Vietnam is a hotbed for the illegal wildlife trade, where animal products from elephant ivory to rhino horn and tiger bones are consumed domestically and also smuggled abroad.
Police on Thursday found 5.3 tonnes of pangolins scales hidden in a shipment from Nigeria at a port in southern Ba Ria Vung Tau province.
“The scales were stuffed into 151 sacks inside a container… (and) bags of raw cashew nuts were used as a disguise in order to avoid detection from authorities,” the online news website Hai Quan said Friday.
The government confirmed Thursday’s haul and also announced a separate seizure of 8.3 tonnes of pangolin scales from “an African country” in the northern Haiphong port earlier this month.
Pangolins, whose scales are made up of the same material as fingernails, are used in traditional medicine to treat allergies and male impotence.
Pangolin meat is consumed on special occasions and can be bought for a hefty sum on the black market.
Often called scaly anteaters, pangolins curl up into a ball when they feel threatened (swipe left) and are the most hunted mammal on the planet.

Photo credit: AFP

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