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15 Scaly Anteaters Rescued from the Frying Pan

Bali Conservational Police Seize Rare 'Pangolins' from Denpasar Warehouse.

(11/21/2009) Officers from the Bali Nature Conservation Agency (BKSDA) moved in on an empty warehouse north of Bali's capital of Denpasar on Wednesday, November 18, 2009, where they seized 15 trengilling or Pangolin scaly anteaters destined for eventual slaughter.

The protected animals are highly prized for the large scales composed of Keratin and their meat, both thought to delay aging and serve as an aphrodisiac.

The police have arrested the owner of the warehouse, Ketut Dharma, who will be charged with commerce in a protected species, acts punishable by a Rp. 100 million (US$10,000) fine and five years imprisonment.

Working on information provided by a neighbor, police placed the warehouse under surveillance for a week before undertaking the raid.

The pangolin is often confused with the armadillo. While similar in shape, lifestyle and diet, the pangolin is specific to Asia and Africa as opposed to the armadillo which lives only in the Americas. The pangolin "shell" is comprised of leaf-shaped scales comprised of keratin while the armadillo "shell" is made of bone. Both animals resemble a reptile when, in fact, they are mammals.

The illegal trade in pangolins can fetch up to Rp. 1 million (US$100) for one kilogram of their meat and Rp. 9,000 (US$0.90) for each of their many scales.