The Little-Known Mammal Faces Destruction
by Amy Lignor
There is always talk, calendars, posters, charity events, and more for certain endangered species that people have literally fallen in love with. Wolves, seals, whales – you name one, and they are all well-represented by amazing organizations. However, there is one mammal out there in the world that is literally the “most-trafficked” who are not getting much of a shot at survival. Why? Because they are not spoken about as often as some of the others. Until now…
Everyone detestable you can think of, from poachers to crime syndicates, are deleting the pangolin from the face of the earth. In fact, wildlife experts have stated that the level of destruction when it comes to the pangolin is “staggering.”
Take the past three months, for instance. 10,000+ pangolins have been trafficked in this short amount of time. Back in June, Hong Kong authorities actually confiscated 4.4 tons of pangolin scales that were stashed in cargo coming from Cameroon; they were labeled “sliced plastics.” This accounts for 1,100 to 6,600 African pangolin deaths, and the illegal haul was worth over $1.25 million on the black market.
In July and August, officials seized even more pangolin scales, almost a ton, in containers arriving from Nigeria and Ghana into Hong Kong. And the poor creatures, themselves – over 650 – were discovered by Indonesian authorities hidden in freezers at a home located on the island of Java.
Although some endangered critters are scary to people, pangolins are as adorable as the wolf pup. A creature covered in scales, there are eight different species of pangolins that were once found in both Asia and Africa. From a yellowish-brown hue to a dark, chocolate brown, these mammals are nocturnal, solitary and feed on ants and termites they retrieve using their long, sticky tongues and nails. Their protective scales make it so the pangolin is often put into the same category as the anteater. However, they are not. In fact, the pangolin have no “family” anywhere on this planet.
No ivory to speak of, the reason pangolins are poached is for their scales. Apparently, they can be used in medicine, as well as being used for fashion accessories and, disgustingly enough, eaten; the mammal is said to be “high-end cuisine.”
The IUCN Pangolin Specialist Group, as well as the site SavePangolins.org are doing their best to alert people of the fact that pangolins are rapidly deteriorating. Experts stated that it’s most likely the mammal has all but vanished in China, and their complete demise is quickly occurring in Vietnam and Thailand; as well as in Africa where the illegal trafficking is making the pangolin species literally disappear overnight.
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network belonging to the World Wildlife Fund, has noted that the pangolin is mainly desirable because it is both rare and exotic. Basically, they are “in vogue” for people who want to sit high up on their thrones in society.
At the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the vote came through to provide all eight species of Asian and African pangolins with the highest level of protection possible. Supported by more than 180 countries, the law has banned the international commercial trade of these creatures who most definitely need help.
In other words, if you wish to dine on high-cuisine, go back to caviar. The pangolin is off the market!
Source: Baret News