Over a tonne of Pangolin scales seized in Thailand


Thai authorities announced on Thursday that they had captured more than a tonne of pangolin scales valued more than 50 million baht ($1.4 million) that were suspected to be on their way out of the country via a land border.

The scales were discovered Wednesday night in the northeastern province of Kalasin and were apparently intended to be transferred out through Mukdahan province, which shares a border with Laos, Thai police said at a news conference in Bangkok on Thursday.

According to Ariyapol Sinsorn, the deputy chief of the Natural Resources and Environmental Crime Division, two male suspects who were on a truck with the scales were detained and accused of illegally possessing the carcasses of protected species. He claimed that the two men had admitted to the charges.

The pangolin scales, which are thought to be worth roughly 40,000 baht ($1,129) per kilogram, are thought to have been trafficked from Malaysia to Thailand before being moved to Laos.

According to wildlife protection officer Prasert Sonsatahpornkul, the scales are thought to have come from at least 3,000–4,000 deceased pangolins. He said that the scales will be analyzed to determine the species of the pangolins.

Pangolins are endangered, and commerce in them is prohibited. The scales of the animal are used in medicine and contain keratin, a protein found in rhino horn, but there is no scientific evidence that they have any therapeutic effect. Demand for pangolin scales and flesh has resulted in widespread poaching, decimating populations across Asia.

(With input from AP)

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