Pity the Pangolin: Most Common Victim of the Wildlife Trade

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Last year tens-of-thousands of elephants and hundreds of rhinos were butchered to feed the growing appetite of the illegal . This black market, largely centered in East Asia, also devoured tigers, sharks, leopards, turtles, snakes, and hundreds of other animals. Estimated at $19 billion annually, the booming trade has periodically captured global media attention, even receiving a high-profile speech by U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, last year. But the biggest mammal victim of the is not elephants, rhinos, or tigers, but an animal that receives little notice and even less press: the . If that name doesn’t ring a bell, you’re not alone.

“Most people don’t know what a pangolin is,” says, Rhishja Cota-Larson, founder and director of Project Pangolin, along with other initiatives focused on rhinos.

It’s perhaps not a surprise that pangolins are little known by the public, since scientists are also in the dark. Nocturnal and notoriously shy, pangolins are rarely seen let alone studied. Scientists readily admit that the private lives of pangolins remain largely that: private. Still there’s another reason why this animal is little-known: government and big NGO ambivalence.

“Conservation actions are primarily focused on large mammals (generally the charismatic species) and ignore the pressing issues of small mammals and lower profile species,” says Ambika Khatiwada, who is studying the Chinese pangolin in Nepal. “The government and other organizations working in the field […] do not have adequate plans for the conservation of small mammals which has resulted in limited information regarding ecology, threats and other conservation issues related to pangolins.”

The Chinese pangolin is listed as Endangered due to a massively unsustainable, and illegal, trade in their meat and scales. This pangolin is a resident of the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden. Photo courtesy of EDGE ZSL.

This pangolin fetus is considered a delicacy. Photo courtesy of TRAFFIC.

Pangolins held in a cage at a market. Photo courtesy of: TRAFFIC.

Pangolin for sale. Photo courtesy of TRAFFIC.

Cape pangolin mother and juvenile. Photo by: Maria Diekmann.

Read full article on Mongabay.com

Supertrooper

Supertrooper

Founder and Executive Editor

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Shrodinger's Cat

The Chinese should be shamed.and informed that they will not be recognized as a civilized nation until this sort of callous self indulgence ceases.

Anne Grice

The wealthy officials in China are the ones who are consuming the pangolians as their new found delicacy, it is not the poor people!! Wealthy Chinese have the money to eat any living soul now!

Anne Grice

The despicable low breed of humans feeding off of every living creature of this planet are the shameless human parasites! The wealthy Chinese are cleaning this planet of every last pangolin to satisfy their vile palates!

Margrit Harris

We can all do our small part to stop the trafficking of pangolin and other species by sharing information like this and paying attention to what we buy. Even in the US we are unsuspectingly offered jewelry and other items made from wildlife body parts.
Many thanks to all who labor to save the pangolin and other endangered species.

Margrit Harris

We can all do our small part to stop the trafficking of pangolin and other species by sharing information like this and paying attention to what we buy. Even in the US we are unsuspectingly offered jewelry and other items made from wildlife body parts.
Many thanks to all who labor to save the pangolin and other endangered species.

Margarita Steinhardt

Unfortunately it is not that simple. The people that illegally hunt wildlife are often just poor villagers. In some cases they are so poor that their children are dying from malnutrition or diseases that could have been easily avoided with proper medical care. But they can't afford it. So they go into the forests in search of anything eatable. And if they are lucky enough to find an animal that will fetch a hefty price – off course they will catch / kill it and sell it, so that they can provide food for their hungry families. To them its… Read more »

Debra Seiz

Humans are the parasites of the planet. Except for the ones who are working to reverse damage done by OTHER humans, I honestly hate most of them. I LOVE going home, to my little section of Paradise, feeding the wildlife there and watching Ominous Erectus disappear at the end of my driveway.
BOYCOTT Asian goods. They’re a sick culture. They’re as bad as the Europeans in America, in that they love to rape every stratus of Paradise. They’re another himbo culture that values endangered species body parts as “aphrodisiacs.” Who needs aphrodisiacs LESS than the Asian overpopulation?

Susan Lee

The best way to cease these reprehensible life-traffikers are with public education and exposures like these; so Thank you for the educating article! I’m sharing in in hopes of promoting the education and exposure needed to slow and hopefully halt these terrible practices.

Debra Seiz

Humans are the parasites of the planet. Except for the ones who are working to reverse damage done by OTHER humans, I honestly hate most of them. I LOVE going home, to my little section of Paradise, feeding the wildlife there and watching Ominous Erectus disappear at the end of my driveway.
BOYCOTT Asian goods. They're a sick culture. They're as bad as the Europeans in America, in that they love to rape every stratus of Paradise. They're another himbo culture that values endangered species body parts as "aphrodisiacs." Who needs aphrodisiacs LESS than the Asian overpopulation?

Susan Lee

The best way to cease these reprehensible life-traffikers are with public education and exposures like these; so Thank you for the educating article! I'm sharing in in hopes of promoting the education and exposure needed to slow and hopefully halt these terrible practices.

Margarita Steinhardt

These guys fetch a very attractive price on Thai black market. And they are so unfortunately easy to catch. Since they feed on ants and termites by raiding their nests up in the trees all a hunter has to do is to climb up the tree and pick up the defenseless animal. Only a lazy villager wouldn't do it. The black market is decimating pangolins populations throughout the country. It's devastating.