MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Chinese vessel that ran into a protected coral reef in the southwestern Philippines held evidence of even more environmental destruction inside: more than 10,000 kilograms (22,000 pounds) of meat from an endangered species, the pangolin or scaly anteater.
The vessel hit an atoll on April 8 at the Tubbataha National Marine Park, a UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. Coast guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo said Monday that 400 boxes of frozen pangolin meat were discovered during a second inspection of the boat on Saturday.
The marine park's lawyer, Adelina Villena, says the boat's 12 Chinese crewmen are being detained on charges of poaching and attempted bribery.
The meat and scales of the pangolin fetch hundreds of dollars per kilogram in China, where many believe they cure various ailments.