- Title: Ivory Coast seizes record haul of pangolin scales.
- Date: 28th July 2017
- Summary: KALAHARI DESERT (FILE) (ORIGINALLY 4:3) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PANGOLINS IN THE DESERT
- Embargoed: 11th August 2017 12:08
- Keywords: Pangolins trafficking scales
- Location: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST/ KALAHARI DESERT
- City: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST/ KALAHARI DESERT
- Country: Ivory Coast
- Topics: Environment,Nature/Wildlife
- Reuters ID: LVA0026RMT7BR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:EDITORS NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL
Ivory Coast has seized three tons of pangolin scales and arrested eight people linked to trafficking, an official said on Thursday (July 27).
The haul was worth approximately 45 million CFA francs ($80,000) and was the largest ever seized in the West African country.
Authorities say suspects were arrested as they were about to deliver their cargo to a Chinese customer, who did not show up to the rendezvous.
"We made this seizure the night before yesterday, with the support of the wildlife service and the Eagle organisation, which is an organisation that fights for the protection of endangered species," said ThimotÃ©e GnahorÃ©, head of the anti-trafficking section of protected species.
According to the Eagle Network, which is working to fight against species trafficking, Pangolins' scales come mostly from Ivorian forests but also from other countries in West Africa, like Guinea Conakry and Liberia.
A statement from the network said more than 4,000 pangolins were killed to collect the 3 tonnes.
The United Nations, last year banned trade in the highly endangered pangolins, the world's most trafficked animal.
Like other illicit wildlife commodity pipelines, such as elephant ivory and rhino horn, Africa is the main source of pangolin supply, while the demand comes from Asia.
Pangolin meat is prized as a delicacy in Asian economies such as Vietnam, while the animal's scales are used in traditional medicines.
"Today we have been able to intercept this cargo and we have arrested eight individuals and the investigations are ongoing, because behind this operation there are first the suppliers, who are on the ground and who devote themselves to the massacres of these animals, as well as selling to those for whom these scales are important," said GnahorÃ©.
Pangolins are the only mammals with these unique scales.
Shy and near-sighted, they only venture out from the safety of their burrows or tree-top homes at night to scour for insects. When startled, they curl up into a ball - a technique that is futile against the cable snares set by hunters.
All eight of the world's species of pangolin, which range from 30 to 100 cm (12 to 39 in) length, are threatened with extinction.
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