When officials at Kuala Lampur International Airport saw a crate labelled "art" trying to pass through customs, they did their usual routine of scanning the box.
The workers noticed something off about the crate, so they decided to open it and see what was inside.
Shocked, officials discovered 18 rhino horns inside the crate. It appeared that the horns were both the large and small ones from rhinos, which indicated to them there were approximately 8 rhinos were left dead, if not more.
David Newton, a South African representative for TRAFFIC, an international wildlife monitoring network, says the horns appeared to have been cleaned before being shipped off. Poachers and traffickers usually do this to eliminate the smell and decrease detection when trying to bypass customs.
Seizing rhino horns is not new, unfortunately. Over 103 horns have been caught throughout Asia since the beginning of March 2017, which is an alarming number. Especially when you consider those are just the ones that have been caught. Asian cultures use the rhino horns for medicinal purposes, which is why the demand is so high.
"It seems that Asian law enforcement agencies are being increasingly effective at intercepting smugglers," Newton said. "On the other hand, it shows that smugglers are avoiding African-based enforcement agencies."
As of right now, there haven't been any arrests made in connection with this large shipment of rhino horns. Authorities are trying to track down the shippers to see if charges can be laid.
Cathy Liss, president of the Animal Welfare Institute says these seizures indicate how big of an issue rhino horn poaching is.
"We commend the authorities in Malaysia for seizing these horns, but are disappointed no arrests have been made," Liss said. "This incident highlights the seriousness of the rhino poaching epidemic in Africa, as well as the need for all governments to collaborate in ending illegal wildlife trade. The market for rhino horn is devastating to the remaining populations of rhino and must be stopped if we hope to save these amazing species."
In 2016 alone, more than 1000 rhinos were killed for their horns. If you would like to help rhinos who survived horn poaching, you can do so here.