Nigeria: Vietnam Seizes Large Haul of Pangolin Scales, Ivory From Nigeria

31 December 2019

Vietnamese authorities confiscated two tons of pangolin scales and ivory from elephant tusks last week, local media reported.

Reports said the items were shipped from Nigeria and concealed in wooden boxes. The seizures marked the latest in the growing illicit global trade of lucrative pangolin, elephants and other endangered animals.

The shipment, containing 1.7 tons of pangolin scales and 730 kilogrammes of ivory, was booked in shipping manifest as "high end lumber", according to Hai Quan news outlet. It was uncovered in Hai Phong, north Vietnam.

It was not immediately clear from which Nigerian ports it originated. A spokesperson for the Nigeria Customs Service could not immediately clarify whether or not they have records relating to the shipment.

The seizures capped a year of intensified crackdown on illicit trade of endangered animals. Governments across Asia have seized huge tons of pangolin scales and ivory from elephants. Tiger and rhino parts have also been seized, with a substantial quantity of the suspicious seizures originating from Nigeria and other African countries.

In February, Nigerian authorities announced an investigation after Vietnam customs seized more than three tons of pangolin scales and ivory that emanated from the West African country.

A worldwide investigation by a consortium of journalists from Asia, Europe and Africa including PREMIUM TIMES found that illicit trade of pangolin scales remained high, with perpetrators evolving methods to circumvent law enforcement measures put in place to check their illegalities.

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