Ivorian officials on Tuesday burnt three tonnes of pangolin scales, the most trafficked mammal in the world. The scales were seized in raids in 2017 and 2018, following which some 20 people were arrested.
The scaly mammal listed as threatened with extinction is a traditional delicacy across China and much of southeast Asia
China has announced a total ban on the sale and consumption of pangolin following the coronavirus outbreak.
Alain-Richard Donwahi, Ivoirien Water and Forestry Minister told the press: “We set these bonfires to incinerate the seizure of pangolin scales which was made in 2017 and 2018. We were able to show that not only are we fighting poaching but also illegal trafficking of protected species.”
US ambassador to Ivory Coast , Richard Bell was also present at the incineration site.“We have just burned three tonnes of pangolin scales. Since 2017 Côte d’Ivoire has also seized more than 600 kilogrammes of elephant ivory and arrested around 30 wildlife traffickers,” he stressed.
The international sale of pangolins was outlawed in 2016 under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The illegal trafficking of wild species is estimated by the WWF to be worth around $15 billion annually.