Thai Customs Seize Smuggled Pangolins and Scales

A tree pangolin (Manis tricuspis) seen here in 2009 in central Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Valerius Tygart / Wikimedia Commons

BANGKOK — Customs officials say they have seized more than 100 live pangolins and 450 kilograms (990 pounds) of scales from the endangered animal.

Customs Department Director-General Kulit Sombatsiri said the illegal wildlife material was seized Wednesday from two pickup trucks after the authorities received a tipoff that it had been smuggled from Malaysia.


Pangolin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine and contain keratin, a protein also found in rhino horn. Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in Vietnam and some parts of China.

A U.N. wildlife conference last year approved a ban on trade in all eight species of Asian and African pangolins.


Kulit said his department has seized more than 2.9 tons of pangolin-related items this year worth more than 29 million baht (USD $870,000).