It looks like an anteater with body armor, but customs officials in Thailand say the more than 100 rare pangolins they confiscated over the weekend are a delicacy that some are willing to pay thousands of dollars to savor.
Customs officers intercepted three pick-up trucks filled with caged pangolins, which had been smuggled through Malaysia across Laos and were destined for sale in southwest China.
The pangolins, worth an estimated $30,000, were trapped in the Indonesian jungle.
While not all pangolin species are endangered, the trapping and selling of Asian pangolins has been illegal since 2000. Pangolins, which eat termites and ants, also are found in Africa, where they are a protected species.
Their meat is considered a delicacy, and their scales — boiled, or baked and ground into powder — are believed by many Chinese to cure several ailments.