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Wed, Jun

Malaysia seizes $1.2 million worth of pangolin scales from Ghana

Customs officers showing the pangolin scales at the press conference

The Customs and Excise Department of Malaysia on Thursday intercepted a shipment of pangolin scales from Ghana worth 5 million ringgit ($1.2 million) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Thursday.

The Director of the Customs and Excise Department of Malaysia, Datuk Hamzah Sundang said the scales, packed in 16 large boxes, were seized at the Air Cargo Free Trade Zone of the airport.

The consignment arrived via Turkish Airlines from Ghana.

"The scales weighing 400kg are believed to be worth more than RM5mil.

"Such merchandise needs an import permit and therefore is illegal," he told reporters at his office.

A Pangolin

What is a pangolin?

Pangolins, often called “scaly anteaters,” are covered in tough, overlapping scales. These burrowing mammals eat ants and termites using an extraordinarily long, sticky tongue, and are able to quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball when threatened.

Eight different pangolin species can be found across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Poaching for illegal wildlife trade and habitat loss have made these incredible creatures one of the most endangered groups of mammals in the world.