Indonesian authorities have seized a haul of hundreds of critically endangered pangolins and scales worth $190,000, officials said on Wednesday, June 14, 2017.
The authorities say they arrested two suspected wildlife smugglers after a raid on a port warehouse in Sumatra uncovered more than 200 pangolins, many of them dead from stress and dehydration.
Ministry of Environment and Forestry official Halasan Tulus said on Wednesday that only 110 of the 225 pangolins found in the raid by navy personnel at Belawan port in Medan were alive. Bags of pangolin scales were also reportedly discovered.
He said two men were arrested. The scaly anteaters, a perennial victim of wildlife trafficking, were destined for Malaysia and worth about 2.5 billion rupiah ($190,000).
Two dozen of the dead animals had already been skinned, according to Tulus.
All eight sub-species of the vulnerable creature have been listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The reclusive mammals hold the undesireable title of being the most poached and illegally trafficked mammal in the world. The Pangolin Specialist Group, backed by the Zoological Society of London, estimated that more than a million pangolins have been stolen from the wild in the last decade.
Pangolin’s keratin scales are sometimes used in the production of traditional medicine and illegal drugs, and its meat is consumed at a high price in parts of Asia and Africa.