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Africa: Nigeria Becomes Global Hub for Ivory and Pangolin Scale Trafficking

Trafficked pangolin scales and elephant ivory
Image culled from sustainability-times.com

According to research conducted by National Geographic, pangolin scales have no verifiable medicinal values. However, this does not stop the illegal trafficking of pangolin scales that run into hundreds of tonnes from the coasts of Nigeria in West Africa into Asia. Still demand drives supply, and demand for ivory and pangolin scales seems to be on the increase.

Pangolin scales and ivory are sourced throughout West and Central Africa by poachers, assisted in part by corrupt government officials and lax regulatory laws concerning the illegal hunting of wildlife in the area. From West and Central Africa, the ivory and pangolin scales make their way to the seaport of Lagos, Nigeria where they are finally transported to Asia, predominantly China and Vietnam.

Trafficking in ivory and pangolin scales is a lucrative business with low risks and high profitability for everyone involved, except for the Pangolins and Elephants, who are being driven nigh into extinction. This is as much a human concern as it is an economic one as it encapsulates the violation of wildlife protection laws, organized crime, fraud, money laundering as well as corruption and bribery of government officials.