Threats to Pangolins
Pangolins are killed and trafficked in great numbers because their scales are used in traditional Asian medicine, their meat is considered a luxury food in many parts of Asia, and their skins and other parts are used for various purposes such as fashion. As a result, there is a rampant illegal global trade in pangolins and their parts. The demand comes principally from China and Vietnam. Rapid loss and deterioration of available habitat places added pressure on the dwindling numbers of remaining pangolins.
All eight species of pangolins are threatened with extinction. In just ten years, more than 1 million pangolins have been illegally traded, which makes them the most trafficked mammals in the world.
Relatively little is known about the illegal trade which makes combating it that much more challenging. Inadequate public and governmental awareness of pangolins and the trade add to the conservation challenge, as well as insufficient political will to enact enforcement of protections.
More funding and resources are needed to immediately halt this illegal trade, and broadening conservation efforts is critical to the survival of this remarkable group of animals.
Photo credits: Paul Hilton; unknown