- More than 600 pangolins were found vacuum sealed in plastic and frozen in five large freezers, Indonesian authorities said.
- The police have arrested a 55-year-old man, who has been named a suspect.
- If found guilty of illegally trading pangolins, the suspect could face five years in jail and a fine of 100m rupiah ($7,500).
On August 25, Indonesian authorities seized 657 pangolins, weighing about 2.3 metric tons, from a house in Jombang district on the Indonesian island of Java. The pangolins were found vacuum sealed in plastic and frozen in five large freezers, the authorities said.
The police raided the house following a tipoff from an informant and arrested a 55-year-old man, who has been named a suspect. If found guilty of illegally trading pangolins, the suspect could face five years in jail and a fine of 100m rupiah ($7,500).
The suspect, however, insisted that he had not been involved in the sale of any pangolin, but refused to disclose where the pangolins were to be sent, East Java province police spokesman Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono told AFP.
“The suspect insisted the Pangolins were not his, a friend asked him to store the animals because he has freezers,” Yuwono said. The authorities are looking for the friend of the suspect, he added.
The scale-covered pangolin, classified as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List, is likely the most trafficked animal in the world. Found in Asia and Africa, these mammals are a delicacy in China. They are also hunted for their scales, which are used in Chinese traditional medicine and even crafted into jewelry.
Estimates show that around 10,000 pangolins are seized every year. But conservationists believe that the true number of pangolins trafficked annually would be several times higher.