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Pangolins – One of the Most Trafficked Mammals in the World

Pangolins – One of the Most Trafficked Mammals in the World

Manidaeor commonly called Pangolins, a genus of the family- Pholidota is becoming increasingly renowned for being the most trafficked non-human mammals in spite of the fact that the utterly harmless insectivorous creatures they are, killed by more than tens of thousands every year.

The ant-eating animals that have eight species are found in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, which, all protected under national and international laws but are still listed as critically endangered by IUCN (International Union of Conservation of Nature),  as a result of facing declining population because of illegal trade. The pangolins’ scales, made of keratin, though hold no proven medicinal value, yet are used in traditional Chinese medicine and folk remedies to help with ailments like arthritis. And pangolins’ meat, considered a delicacy, has high commercial value in the markets of countries like China and Vietnam.

Based on reported seizures between 2011 and 2013, an estimated one million pangolins and have been smuggled and poached making them the world’s most trafficked animals.

Wildlife crime is the biggest threat to the existence of pangolins, in regard to this, a treaty of over 180 governments, in 2016, announced an agreement that would end all the illegal trade of pangolins and further protect the species from extinction.  In June 2020, China increased protection for the native Chinese Pangolin to the highest level, which closed an important loophole for the consumption of the species in-country. Additionally, the government will no longer allow the use of pangolin scales in traditional medicine, a big win gave that an estimated two hundred thousand pangolins were trafficked in 2019 for their scales alone.

World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in February, and this year, the special day falls on February 20, 2021!

Zara Khan

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