Malaysian customs officials seized a haul of illegal animal parts worth nearly $18 million.
The trafficked animal parts, which included rhino horns, elephant tusks, pangolin scales and tiger bones worth around 80 million ringgit (approximately $17.9 million), were discovered at Port Klang in Selangor state on July 10.
Malaysian Customs Director General Zazuli Johan announced on Monday that the haul is thought to have been shipped from Africa. He added that the seizure of the elephant tusks was the biggest in Malaysia’s history.
“The customs enforcement unit successfully thwarted an attempted smuggling of these items – elephant tusks, rhino horns, pangolin scales, tiger teeth and various other bones and animal parts that were found in a container at Port Klang,” Johan reportedly said.
The haul included 25 kilograms (55.12 pounds) of rhino horns, 100 kilograms (220.46 pounds) of pangolin scales and 6,000 kilograms (13,227.74 pounds) of elephant tusks. There were also 300 kilograms (661.39 pounds) of animal skulls, bones and horns discovered.
Investigations into the illegal haul’s shipping agent and importer are currently ongoing. There have been no arrests made relating to the seizure as of press time.
It remains unclear if the container was to be shipped to other countries in Asia. However, conservationists have identified Malaysia as a major transit point from which endangered wildlife are illegally trafficked to other Asian countries, especially China.
“This medley of threatened species in a single seizure is concerning, and it certainly verifies the suspicion that criminals continue to use Malaysian ports to move contraband wildlife,” Kanitha Krishnasamy, a director for the wildlife trade monitoring group Traffic, said in a statement.
The pangolin — the world’s most trafficked mammal — along with ivory tusks, rhino horns and lion bones are believed to have medicinal properties that are valuable for traditional medicines.
Featured Image via Pexels