Hong Kong customs seize record haul of contraband from Nigeria

Hong Kong customs seize record haul of contraband from Nigeria

A massive consignment of endangered wildlife animal parts allegedly smuggled from Nigeria has been intercepted in Hong Kong.

The consignment is estimated at $7.90million, Hong Kong customs officials said yesterday.

The officials labeled the seizure a record.

It was bound for Vietnam.

Found in the container were pangolin scales and more than 1,000 ivory tusks.

It is estimated that 500 elephants and up to 13,000 pangolins may have been killed to amass the contraband.

The Vietnam News Agency also reported yesterday that authorities in the port city of Hai Phong had discovered another 1.4 tonnes of pangolin scales in a shipping container from Nigeria.

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Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are critically endangered. They are coveted for their meat — considered a delicacy — and their scales, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat aliments from cancer to arthritis.

“It is clearly impossible that the pangolin species can withstand such high rates of poaching, trafficking and trade. Eight tonnes is outrageous,” said Alex Hofford, campaign manager for conservation group WildAid in Hong Kong.

WildAid estimates 100,000 pangolins are poached from the wild each year, with all eight species of pangolin in Africa, and especially Asia, now under threat.

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