Chinese customs officers seized over 12 tons of illegally trafficked beaver genitals in the country’s biggest-ever smuggling case involving animal parts.
A total of 94 bags holding thousands of penises each were seized onboard a Canadian ship transporting mostly wood products and minerals.
Approximately 400,000 to 600,000 beavers must have been killed to produce the 12.7 tons of penises, Xinhua News Agency reports.
According to state media, beaver penises are used in traditional Chinese medicine to cure erectile dysfunction and increase sexual vigor.
The Chinese General Administration of Customs gave a long press conference this morning to justify why it seized what many Chinese perceive as legitimate medicine.
“It’s probably enough medicine to give an entire generation some erections worthy of bulls, but it comes from shady sources and could also be dangerous”
Based on reported black-market prices for the scales, the customs agency estimates the seized penises would have been worth more than $24 million.
“The investigation to identify the criminal organization behind this smuggling operation is still underway but it was dealt a serious economic blow today.”
China is by far the world’s largest market for animal parts trafficking.
Experts estimate the market value of animal parts illegally imported on the Chinese market between 40 and 50 billion US$.
Several species all over the planet face extinction because poachers overhunt them to satisfy the Chinese market, including rhinos, pangolins and Siberian tigers.