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Published on September 28th, 2009 | by Rhishja Cota-Larson


40 Pangolins Rescued in Smuggling Stakeout

Pangolin image for article about pangolin smugglers busted in Malaysia[social_buttons]

40 pangolins – including baby pangolins – have been rescued by Malaysian authorities.

A four-day stakeout by Malaysian special forces along the Sungai Sarang Buaya resulted in the rescue of about 40 pangolins – and the arrest of a smuggler.

According to local reports, the intelligence unit was on a stakeout operation at the river for four days before seeing two boats approaching the shore.

One of the boats stopped at the shore – and two men were seen loading sacks of live pangolins into a car. Upon realizing they had been spotted, the two men tried to escape. After a short car chase, the smugglers lost control of their car, which ended up in the river.

The head of the unit, Azha Ahmad, said that the driver got away, and the other man was arrested. The suspect is reportedly from Kampung Parit Enam in Sungai Balang and is being held to assist authorities with investigations into pangolin smuggling.

The pangolins were turned over to the Wildlife and National Parks Department.

Pangolins disappearing from Southeast Asia

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, all eight species of pangolin are experiencing decreasing populations. Two species, the Chinese Pangolin and the Sunda Pangolin, are endangered, due to an unfortunate superstition that pangolin meat, scales, fetus, and body parts have medicinal properties.

Earlier pangolin seizures in Southeast Asia have revealed that the slaughter of these shy creatures to meet the growing demands of mainland China is driving them ever closer to extinction.

Let’s hope the Malaysian authorities keep up the good work!

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About the Author

Rhishja is the founder of Annamiticus, a nonprofit organization which provides educational information and news about wildlife crime and endangered species. Rhishja has journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. At CITES CoP16 in Bangkok, she joined colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species from economic exploitation. When Rhishja is not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, she enjoys gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.

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