Seizure on March 31, 2020 in Port Kelang, Malaysia, of 6.16 tonnes of pangolin scales with an estimated value of US $ 17.9 million or US $ 2,900 / kg. The final destination could only be China. Wildlife smuggling is always directed to the most demanding and highest-bidder country ((see “Atlas of the Business of Endangered Species” by Robin des Bois, published by Arthaud editions in October 2019).
This seizure of scales is the largest in Malaysia since the start of the year. The container was officially transporting cashews. The journey of a container ship between West Africa, for example Nigeria, and Malaysia takes approximately 2 months. So this cashew / pangolin shell expedition was organized between African traffickers and Chinese dealers in early 2020 after the outbreak of COVID-19 in China and the emergence of the global pandemic.
This cashew sector had already been identified:
– in May 2019, in Vietnam, with a seizure of 5,264 tonnes of scales distributed in 2 20-foot maritime containers (151 bags were filled with scales and 63 with cashew nuts). The 2 containers arrived from Nigeria;
– in May 2018, in Vietnam, with the seizure of 87 bags containing 3.3 tonnes of scales in the middle of bags of cashew nuts in transit for Cambodia;
– in September 2014, at Ho Chi Minh City airport in Vietnam, with the seizure of 40 kg of raw ivory in a cashew nut package;
– in 2012, in Manila in the Philippines, with the seizure of 6 rhino horns in a sea container transporting cashew nuts from Mozambique.
These events were reported in Robin Hood’s bulletins of information and information on poaching and smuggling of endangered species “Trace”.