Breaking! National Parks Board & Singapore Customs Seize 12.9 Tons Of Pangolin Scales Worth An Estimated $38.7 Million

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Earlier this week, the National Parks Board (NParks) and Singapore Customs seized 12.9 tons of pangolin scales from a shipment heading to Vietnam from Nigeria.

Hidden in 230 bags of frozen beef, the pangolin scales are reportedly worth an estimated US $38.7 million.

The shipment also included 177kg of cut up and carved elephant ivory, valued at approximately US $88,500.

Using frozen meat to conceal pangolin scales is becoming commonplace among wildlife smugglers. As recently as February, WAN reported that 30 tons of pangolins packed in frozen meat were confiscated in Sabah, Malaysia.

“Pangolins are heavily trafficked for their scales, which fetch a large value on the black market,” NParks noted in a post on its Facebook page. “Thus, while we are saddened by the needless slaughter of approximately 17,000 pangolins, we are glad that these scales will not make it to their eventual destination, thereby halting their trade.”

Singapore is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and is committed to international efforts to curb the illegal wildlife trade. Elephants and pangolins are protected species under CITES. International trade in elephant ivory and pangolin is prohibited.

“The Singapore Government adopts a zero-tolerance stance on the use of Singapore as a conduit to smuggle endangered species and their parts and derivatives,” the customs department said in a statement on its website. “Our agencies will continue to collaborate and maintain vigilance to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.”

Under the Endangered Species Act, the maximum penalty for illegal import, export and re-export of wildlife is a fine of up to $500,000 and or 2 years imprisonment. The same penalties apply to transit or transshipment of illegal wildlife species, including their parts and derivatives.

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