By S.M. Mohd Idris
The occasional media reports on huge pangolin seizures underline a massive upswing in pangolin poaching. It brings into focus a serious problem – the demands of the illegal wildlife trade which is devouring thousands of elephants, rhinos, tigers and other rare species.
Whilst much attention has been paid to the large iconic species there is little attention paid to this shy and unobtrusive nocturnal scaly anteater, because of a lack of public attention, recognition and no public awareness to their plight.
They have become a prized targets for wildlife traffickers in the Asian region especially to fuel the huge demands from China, where laws against the creatures’ illegal import and use are not enforced. They are under massive hunting pressure for their scales, flesh, skin, scales, blood, and other body parts.
An estimated 40,000 (and perhaps as many as 60,000) pangolins were poached from the wild in 2011 alone, and it is becoming obvious that the insatiable demand for these animals is the leading factor driving the toothless insectivores toward extinction. Despite the beliefs, there is no scientific evidence to support any of the medicinal claims made about pangolin body parts.
Numerous disturbing articles, photos and video on the net strongly suggests the emergence of pangolin farms operating in China. Emergence of these farms may help provide insight into why the world is losing pangolins at such an alarming rate.
Pangolins chief defence against predation is to roll into a tightly armoured ball which is effective against sabre toothed cats and bear, than against human collectors who remain their biggest predator. More....