By Rhishja Cota-Larson
Researchers in Pakistan warn that its pangolins are under tremendous pressure from China’s appetite for the scales and flesh of this imperiled species.
The brutal slaughter of 118 pangolins between January 2011 and May 2012 is documented in the August 2012 report Illegal Mass Killing of Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) in Potohar Region, Pakistan by Tariq Mahmood, Riaz Hussain, Nausheen Irshad, Faraz Akrim, and Muhammad Sajid Nadeem. Through field visits and interviews with local people, the authors determined that the main participants in killing pangolins for the illegal trade are “trained local hunters and nomads”. (Download the report here.)
A grisly combination of “dead bodies, skeletons, scale jackets, live captured or reportedly killed and or traded in the Potohar Plateau” were recorded, with 60 of the 118 deaths occurring in the Chakwal district.
"The most miserable incident was the recovery of 45 scale-less decaying dead bodies of this animal species (in March 2012) which were found dumped (in jute sacks) inside an unused railway tunnel near Chakwal city."
Among these were eight baby pangolins.
Regarding the transnational nature of pangolin trafficking, the authors cite an incident from April 2012, in which a suspect (identified as “Zhou”) was arrested in China with 25.4 kg of pangolin scales. Zhou said he acquired the scales while working in Pakistan. More....