Ivorian authorities have seized nearly 3 tonnes of pangolin scales – making it the biggest seizure of its kind.
The haul, which officials are calling a “massacre” is worth an estimated $82,000.
Eight men of various African nationalities were apprehended overnight on Tuesday as they prepared to sell their merchandise, probably to Asia, said police captain Thimotee Gnahore of the country’s transnational organised crime unit (UCT) told reporters in Abidjan.
The total haul of three tons of pangolin scales — contained in more than 60 large bags — represented about 4,000 pangolins captured in Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Liberia, according to Adama Kamagate with the Eagle Network.
The trade of highly endangered pangolins was banned by the United Nations last year.
The eight men arrested, from Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Guinea, were part of a “large mafia-like network,” Gnahore said, adding that the penalties for the men’s crimes were too lenient.
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