Pangolins in peril

Asian customs officials bust endangered-species traffickers

Customs officials in Vietnam confiscated nearly five tons of frozen pangolin, a protected species that most likely was on its way to China.

Pangolins are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. But they are sold for their meat and also for their scaly exterior, which Chinese revere for its purported medicinal and aphrodisiac qualities, reported AFP.

Officials who made the discovery early last week estimated the meat came from 1,481 of the animals.

Meanwhile, a few days earlier, Thai customs officials rescued 130 of the creatures, which were concealed in cases on a truck.

They arrested the man who was driving the vehicle, charging him with possessing and trafficking endangered wildlife, an offense that can lead to a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.