By Jeremy Hance
Six men have been sentenced to a year in jail after being convicted of smuggling 150 pangolins in peninsular Malaysia, reports Annamiticus. The men were also given fines totaling over $100,000.
Pangolins are small, scaly mammals that feed on termites much like South America's anteaters. The animals are in demand for their scales, which are used in traditional medicine, and their meat and fetuses, which are eaten as a delicacy in some parts of East Asia.
The six men were caught last year attempting to smuggle the pangolins inside the trunks of three different vehicles. The men's legal counsel has stated they will appeal the decision.
Despite the fact that pangolins are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), they are considered the world's most trafficked animal. Custom officials in Hai Phong, Vietnam recently confiscated almost seven tons of pangolins, many of them said to be still alive.
"Following huge declines in populations of the Chinese pangolin, trade has mainly involved the Sunda pangolin in recent years, which occurs across Southeast Asia, but pangolins are now being sourced from South Asia and as far as Africa to meet demand in East Asia," Dan Challender, Co-Chair of the IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group, noted recently. Experts say that law enforcement and sentencing needs to be significantly stepped up if pangolins are to survive. More....