Skip to content

Nigeria Thwarts Wildlife Smuggling Plan

Officials have seized a record amount of pangolin scales and claws and elephant tusks as the government attempts to combat the trade. The seizure, worth $54 million included 17,137 kg of pangolin scales, 44 kg of elephant tusks and 60 kg in pangolin claws, Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali, comptroller-general of customs, said in a statement. Nigeria has become a hub for gangs sending African pangolins to Asia, according to law enforcement officials and wildlife experts. They blame insecure borders, lax law enforcement, corruption and access to large ports. The pangolin, a shy, critically endangered animal, has become one of the most trafficked mammals on earth due to demand for its scales in traditional Chinese medicine. Seizures of pangolin scales, mainly sourced in Africa, increased tenfold between 2014 and 2018, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC). In that time 185 tonnes of scales were seized, for which roughly 370,000 animals would have been killed, UNODC said.