The Malaysian authorities reported this Monday that they have seized a container from Africa that stored six tons of elephant tusks, pangolin scales and skeletons and bones of other animals with an estimated value of 18 million dollars (17.72 million euros).
The Malaysian customs department stresses in a statement released today that the material was hidden behind sawn wood on a ship from Africa that was inspected in Malaysia on July 10.
The container included 6,000 kilograms of elephant tusks, 100 kilograms of pangolin scales, 25 kilograms of rhino horn and 300 kilograms of skeletons, bones and horns of other animals.
Malaysian authorities are now investigating the importer and the agent in charge of the shipment, without providing further details and it is unknown if the seized material was destined for other parts of Asia after its arrival in Malaysia.
In China and some countries in Southeast Asia, rhino horn is believed to have medicinal or aphrodisiac properties, an extreme never scientifically confirmed.
This belief, added to the increase in purchasing power in these countries, has made the already threatened populations of rhinos (for their horns), African elephants (for their tusks), pangolins (for their scales and meat) or of lions (for their bones), among other species.