Malaysian authorities seized trafficked ivory tusks and pangolin scales worth nearly $1 million over the weekend, airport customs officials says on Wednesday, the latest in a series of seizures in Asia of products made from endangered animals.
It was Sunday customs found 23 elephant tusks and six bags of pangolin scales, reports Reuters . The combined value is close to NOK 8 million.
Several similar seizures have been made at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, and environmentalists have pointed out Malaysia as one of the biggest hubs for trade in illegal animals and products from these. The investigators are now wondering whether airport employees are participating in the smuggling.
– We have no evidence, but believe they exploit our systems and procedures for smuggling activity, says the Deputy Director of the Customs Department, Mohammad Pudzi.
Used in traditional medicine
More than 30,000 elephants are illegally killed worldwide every year due to the high demand for ivory.
Pangolines are also victims of illegal hunting. The shells are used in traditional medicine in many Asian countries. All eight Pangolin species are endangered.
About Pangolins (from Wikipedia)