Massive Pangolin Seizure in Kuala Lumpur Demonstrates Dire Need to Provide Stronger Protection for World’s Most Trafficked Mammals

Stronger protections for pangolins are desperately needed.
Monday, 8 May, 2017
Washington, DC

Today, Malaysian officials reported they had seized over 700 kilograms of pangolin scales, worth more than $2 million, in what is the largest seizure for the country to date. This amount of scales is said to represent roughly 1,400 pangolins being killed. As a leader in a coalition of more than 20 groups who worked tirelessly to achieve protections for all eight pangolin species under Appendix I of CITES in September 2016, and as co-author on a technical petition to list the pangolins under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, Mark Hofberg, Assistant Campaigns Officer with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), issued the following statement:

“This seizure is just another example, from a long list of recent seizures, of why stronger protections for pangolins, the world’s most trafficked mammal, are desperately needed.

It seems like every month there is a new record amount of pangolin scales being seized on their way from African source countries to Asian consumer countries. Each of these seizures represents staggering amounts of pangolins being poached. The continued surge in poaching and international trade is fueled by market prices for pangolin scales, which have increased in recent years.

There is hope for pangolins, as just this past fall, all eight species were transferred to Appendix I of CITES, essentially banning the international commercial trade of the animals. However, more must be done to ensure that these enormous seizures such as in Kuala Lumpur become a thing of the past.

The US government is in a position to do something to help these species, as it evaluates and decides whether to list pangolins under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). IFAW submitted a petition to list the species in 2015 along with the Humane Society International, Born Free, and the Center for Biological Diversity. 

Giving the species the ESA protection it deserves would shine a light on the plight of this little known but imperiled animal.

There is no question that pangolins are suffering deeply at the hands of traffickers – both in Asia and in Africa. If nothing is done to protect these animals, we could be witnessing the extinction of one or more pangolin species in our lifetimes.”                         

About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Photos are available at www.ifawimages.com

Post a comment

Press Contact

Matt Sutton
Contact phone:
(212) 255-8478
Contact mobile:
(915) 227-5680
Contact email:

Experts

Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Elsayed Ahmed Mohamed, Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Regional Director, Middle East and North Africa
Dr. Joseph Okori
Regional Director, Southern Africa and Program Director, Landscape Conservation
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Regional Director, Russia & CIS
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jeffrey Flocken, Regional Director, North America
Regional Director, North America
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Peter LaFontaine, Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Campaigns Manager, IFAW Washington, D.C.
Country Representative, Germany
Country Representative, Germany
Tania McCrea-Steele, Global Wildlife Cybercrime Project Lead, IFAW UK
Global Wildlife Cybercrime Project Lead, IFAW UK
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy