The most trafficked animal in the world, the pangolin is hunted (illegally) for its meat and scales, which are used in Chinese medicine, an ancient practice traditionally used in East Asia. Due to unprecedented economic growth and a growing middle class, people in China are now able to afford Chinese medicine, shark fin soup, all devastating to conservation of endangered animals. They vary from vulnerable to critically endangered. All eight species are protected under international and national laws (often broken by poachers), according to WWF (World Wildlife Fund).
Pangolins, also known as scaly/scaled anteaters due to their diet of mostly insects and their body of scales, which they use for protection when threatened by predators. According to The Independent, “The wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC found last year that Indonesia, one of the last strongholds of the critically endangered Sunda Pangolin, is losing up to 10,000 pangolins a year to poachers. According to research conducted by TRAFFIC, 20 tonnes of pangolins and their parts are being trafficked every year.”
Pangolins are an endangered species struggling for survival. They are captured for ritual medicine and sold to people who can now afford to buy them. Enforcement of laws on their poaching is needed to protect these critically endangered animals.