Thai customs seize smuggled pangolins and scales

Thai customs officials say they have seized more than 100 live pangolins and 450 kilograms (990 pounds) of scales from the endangered animal.

Customs Department Director-General Kulit Sombatsiri said the illegal wildlife material was seized Wednesday from two pickup trucks after the authorities received a tipoff that it had been smuggled from Malaysia.

Pangolin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine and contain keratin, a protein also found in rhino horn. Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in Vietnam and some parts of China.

A U.N. wildlife conference last year approved a ban on trade in all eight species of Asian and African pangolins.

Kulit said his department has seized more than 2.9 tons of pangolin-related items this year worth more than 29 million baht ($870,000).