Twelve Chinese fishermen, who were initially caught in Philippines for fishing in the nation’s exclusive economic zone, shocked the world, when it was found that they were carrying thousands of pounds of pangolin meat with them. Pangolins have been a protected animal in international trade since 2002.
The Philippine coast guard initially caught Chinese nationals on April 8th fishing and damaging a marine sanctuary called the Tubbataha Reef. When their boat was re-investigated, the officers were surprised to find over 22000 pounds of pangolin meat!
The Pangolin is a rare animal and its international trade has been banned since 2002. But despite the ban, there is an increasing demand for the meat especially in China where meat and scales of the animal are sold. It is believed that the pangolin scales have curative properties.
The prosecutor for the case says the illegal game could add up to six years and almost $300,000 in fines to the fisherman’s charges.
After being caught, the Chinese nationals even tried to negotiate with the authorities by trying to bribe the coast guard with $2400.
Even before the discovery of the rare pangolin meat, the men were facing up to 12 years and over $100,000 in fines if found guilty.
This recent news warns of a widely spread illegal market that is killing pangolins in thousands and further threatening the future of the animal.