Vietnamese authorities seized more than eight tonnes of pangolin scales and ivory in one of the south-east Asian country’s largest wildlife trafficking cases for years, government said.
Trade in ivory and pangolin is illegal in Vietnam, but wildlife trafficking remains widespread.
Police found more than two tonnes of ivory and six tonnes of pangolin scales in a plastic waste container at Tien Sa port in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on Thursday, government said in a statement.
The container, owned by Vietnam’s Thien Truong Su Co., originated from Nigeria, according to the statement. Calls to Nguyen Xuan Su, the company’s general director, went unanswered.
The raid came days after authorities at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi seized almost a tonne of ivory and pangolin scales hidden in cargo boxes, also from Nigeria.
Nguyen Van Thai, director of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife said pangolin trafficking is on the rise.
“Most pangolin scales seized in Vietnam originate from Africa and are bound for China, which is the bigger market” Thai told Reuters, adding part of the shipments were for the Vietnamese market.
Thai said some Vietnamese people believe consuming ground pangolin scales is good for their health, particularly for issues with the liver, bones and for mothers to produce milk.