Malaysian wildlife officers nab pangolin smugglers

Posted on March 25, 2011. Filed under: Bio-diversity |

-The Star-

Kuala Lumpur – Malaysian police have arrested two men for attempting to smuggle 135 live pangolins worth more than 100,000 ringgit (31,750 dollars) into Thailand, officials said Friday.

The two men were detained while loading the pangolins, a protected species in Malaysia, into two cars in the northern state of Penang early Thursday.

Wildlife officials had been monitoring the suspects’ activities for more than three months, a wildlife department spokesman said.

The suspects, aged 23 and 40, were believed to be preparing to send the animals to neighbouring Thailand where they are in high demand for their gastronomical and medicinal value, state wildlife director Jamalun Nasir Ibrahim was quoted as saying by the Star newspaper.

He said the men, believed to be members of an illegal wildlife trade syndicate, could faced fines of up to 350,000 ringgit (111,100 dollars) or a 14-year jail term each.

Pangolins, which usually weigh between 5 and 7 kilograms, can fetch up to 200 ringgit (64 dollars) per kilogram.

Wildlife department official said the animals would be released back into the wild.

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