Cameroon arrests 6 people for trying to smuggle pangolins to Vietnam

By Nguyen Quy   August 23, 2018 | 07:00 pm PT
Cameroon arrests 6 people for trying to smuggle pangolins to Vietnam
A pangolin rescued from smugglers and brought to a reserve in northern Vietnam. Photo by Save Vietnam's Wildlife
Six people were caught at an airport in Cameroon allegedly trying to smuggle pangolins to Vietnam last week.

News website Wide America reported Wednesday five Cameroonians nationals and one from the neighboring Central African Republic were apprehended at Douala International Airport, around 200 kilometers to the southeast of the capital Yaounde, trying to smuggle the animals and their scales through Nigeria.

The men confessed to the police that the animals were destined for Vietnam, which is among the top 10 countries for pangolin trafficking.

The arrest was part of a crackdown on wildlife trafficking carried out by the Cameroonian police and wildlife protection service.

Central Africa is a notorious hotspot for illegally sourcing the scaly anteater for Asia, where its meat and scales fetch up to $1,000 per kilogram, the portal said.

Vietnam is home to Javan and Chinese pangolins, both of which are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered, and their populations have plummeted in recent years.

The defenseless anteaters are the biggest victim of wildlife trafficking as their meat is considered a delicacy by some while their scales are used to make boots and shoes.

In Chinese medicine the scales are also used to treat conditions such as psoriasis and poor circulation.

Conservationists said Vietnam is both a market and transit point for pangolin trafficking networks.

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