Pangolins (Illustrative image - Source: VNA)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysian authorities have seized 30 tonnes of pangolins and their scales, valued at some 2 million USD, during raids on a factory and a warehouse in Sabah state.

Local police said on February 12 that the record haul includes about 1,800 boxes full of frozen pangolins stuffed inside three refrigerating containers, 572 more boxes in six freezers, 61 live pangolins in cages, and 361kg of pangolin scales.

Police also arrested a 35-year-old man suspected to have been in charge of the factory, which is believed to have been operating for the past seven years. The pangolins were assumed to be bought from poachers and distributed locally.

Traffic, a Malaysian-based group that monitors wildlife smuggling around the region, said it was the biggest bust Malaysia has seen to date.

The Southeast Asian nation is working hard to crack down on the poaching and smuggling of pangolins, the world's most heavily trafficked mammal. The critically endangered creatures have long been targeted as their body parts are highly valued in traditional medicine, while their meat is considered a delicacy. –VNA