Pangolin is considered the most trafficked mammal, statistics say. This animal has a coat formed from hard shells and a distinctive figure, sort of a combination between a squirrel and a lizard. In the last decade around 1 million of them have been poached and now they are close to extinction.
The summit that was held last week banned the trade of the pangolin, but this doesn’t mean that it is going to stop entirely since in Africa, illegal traffic is a daily activity. The illegal traffic is generated by demands made by consumers from China because in some regions of the country, and in Vietnam, the meat of the pangolin is a delicacy.
Moreover, several parts of the body of the pangolin are used in traditional medicine in China, this being one of reasons why the population of these animals is quickly declining in Africa.
The manager of the Uganda Conservation Foundation, Anne-Marie Weeden says that the poaching levels in Africa are small compared to other places where the traffic is even bigger.
“People need to have a meaningful alternative source of income and have to benefit from the national parks they live next door to,” Weeden declared.
The people who traffic these animals travel from an area to another in order to find the pangolins , sometimes the locals offering their help in exchange for a small percentage of the sale. After they caught several animals they sell them to a middleman or even to the Chinese customers directly. The Chinese costumers are believed to have connections with corrupt agents at border points of airports, this being the only explanation on how they manage to snuggle the animals.
The prices of these pangolins are small at first, when they are caught, but once they are passed through several intermediaries, the price for just one kilogram could reach up to $150. This is one of the main reasons why the illegal traffic is not going to stop and now, since all pangolin trades have been banned, it is only going to get worse.
The main idea behind this newly installed ban on pangolin traffic is to help the species recover its dwindling numbers. Environmental activists are fighting to keep the population on a safe path, illegal commerce sending it to a spiral path towards extinction.
What is your opinion about pangolin traffic? Should the animals be left alone?
Image source: Wikipedia