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A severed turtle head sits in a basket amongst other animal parts at O’Russey Market earlier this month. Charles Parkinson

Pangolin among wild animals seized by WA

The Wildlife Alliance has rescued almost 1,700 animals from the illegal wildlife trade in 2015, with the organisation saying increased public awareness of its hotline number to report wildlife crime is a key factor in its success.

According to figures released by the conservation NGO this week, in the first nine months of the year it seized 1,674 animals, released the same number back into their natural habitats and imposed more than $27,200 in fines on traffickers.

In a notable case of the hotline being used, the Wildlife Alliance rescued a pangolin roaming near Phnom Penh’s O’Russey Market in May, after being alerted by a member of the public.

“[The pangolin] must either have been kept as a pet at a nearby house or had escaped from a nearby trader,” the NGO said.

Pangolins are the world’s most-trafficked mammal and have been hunted to the edge of extinction, amid voracious demand for their scales in traditional Chinese medicine.

In a recent visit to O’Russey Market, reporters saw traditional medicine shops selling dried pieces of muntjac, civet, turtle, gecko, coucal and slow loris.

“All of these wildlife products are illegal,” said a Wildlife Alliance staff member after reviewing photographic evidence yesterday.

Wildlife Alliance’s hotline can be reached at 012 500 094.

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