Just over a year ago I wrote
the following:Pangolin is a Malaysian word for 'rolling up into a ball', which the pangolin, also known as the scaly anteater, does to protect itself from enemies. The Sunda Pangolin is increasingly rarely found in Southeast Asia; in Indonesia, it lives in Java, Sumatra, Borneo and Lesser Sunda Islands/Nusa Tenggara.
However, as the Guardian reported this week they are under a greater threat here, not so much through deforestation as because Chinese foodies consider them to be a delicacy. As a result of demand, the pangolin populations of China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have been wiped out. With traders moving further and further south, the animal is declining even in its last habitats in Java, Sumatra and the Malaysian peninsula.
Last week 31 pangolins were found aboard a wooden vessel abandoned off the Coast of China. The boat contained some 5,000 endangered animals.
That was last year.
This week, this year you can read the following
:Police raided the warehouse of a suspected illegal wildlife trader in western Indonesia, seizing 14 tons - count 'em - 14 tons of endangered pangolin, their carcasses frozen and ready for export to China
- where, for some strange reason pangolins are considered to be a delicacy.Fourteen suspects were arrested, the monitoring network TRAFFIC said, describing the seizure as the largest-ever of the scaly, lizard-like animals in Indonesia.
"This is trans-border syndicate," the group quoted Didid Widjanardi, a senior national police officer, as saying. "The pangolins were packed and ready for export to China via seaports in Sumatra and Java" islands.
Last week's arrests in the Sumatran city of Palembang were triggered by two seizures earlier this year in Vietnam, involving more than 23 tons of frozen pangolins that were known to have originated from Indonesia.
"The police in Indonesia have done an excellent job and should be applauded," said Chris Shepherd, senior program officer with TRAFFIC. "We hope that these criminals are prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
For some strange reason pangolins are considered to be a delicacy in China. The full extent of the law there is the death penalty
And in Indonesia .....?