By Rhishja Cota-Larson
Last month’s rescue of 104 live pangolins in Thailand has unfortunately turned into a tragedy.
According to Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), the pangolins were left at the police station, packed into plastic crates, without care for more than 29 hours. Although the Thai navy officers who made the arrests tried to help by returning to the police station to cool off the pangolins with water, 40 pangolins died during that time. WFFT reports that their staff and dog rescue groups were “not allowed to assist with the medical or any other care” and it is “unclear where the remaining live animals were taken”.
The two pangolin traffickers — who confessed they transported the pangolins from the Thai-Malaysian border — were released on bail within three hours of their arrest. The pair was apprehended on March 26th at the Mekong River during an attempt to smuggle the pangolins to China via Laos.
Based on seizure numbers, an estimated 60,000 pangolins were victims of the illegal trade in 2012.