By Rhishja Cota-Larson
Updated figures for global pangolin trafficking suggest that between 91,390 and 182,780 pangolins were victims of the illegal trade during the period of 2011 through August 1, 2013.
Between 1,740 and 3,480 pangolins are likely to have met their demise at the hands of traffickers since our April 2013 pangolin trafficking estimate. Our figures are conservative and based on seizures reported by the media. It’s important to note that most illegal wildlife trade is undetected; confiscations generally represent just 10 to 20 percent of the actual illegal trade volume. While a very few of these pangolins are released into the wild, it is unfortunately not a large enough figure to impact the overall numbers.
TRAFFIC Southeast Asia reported on July 29 that a tip-off from the public alerted Malaysian Marine Police to smugglers who were attempting to bring 15 pangolins ashore. The pangolins were still alive, but unfortunately, the suspects escaped.
On July 18, authorities in Quang Ninh province (northern Vietnam) intercepted a vehicle carrying 75 pangolins, just one day after the discovery of 62 pangolins in another vehicle. In both incidents, the drivers admitted they were taking the pangolins to China. The pangolins that were still alive were said to be “in poor health” and taken to Soc Son Wildlife Rescue Centre in Hanoi.
Meanwhile, in Guwahati (Assam, India), customs officials recovered over 85 kg of pangolin scales, along with 144.2 kg of pseudophedrine tablets, during a raid. One suspect from the state of Mizoram was arrested. The pangolin scales were destined for China, according to the Business Standard on July 18. More....