The Tragic Tale of the Pangolin: A Look at the Most Trafficked Mammal in the World

81 / 100

The pangolin, a small and scaly mammal, has become the most trafficked animal in the world due to its alleged medicinal properties, making it a victim of illegal wildlife trade.

Despite its gentle nature and harmless disposition, the pangolin has become a prime target for poachers, and its numbers are rapidly declining.

The Tragic Tale of the Pangolin

This heartbreaking story of the pangolin’s plight has been overlooked for too long, and it’s time to shine a light on this tragic tale. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of the pangolin and explore the reasons behind its illegal trade.

From its unique physical features to its critical role in the ecosystem, we’ll uncover the truth behind the pangolin’s unfortunate fate and what we can do to protect this incredible species from extinction. Get ready to be inspired and informed as we take a closer look at the most trafficked mammal in the world.

The Pangolin’s Role in the Ecosystem


The pangolin, also known as the scaly anteater, is a unique mammal that plays a critical role in the ecosystem.

Pangolins are insectivores, which means they primarily feed on ants and termites.

Their long, sticky tongues can extend up to 40 centimeters, allowing them to easily reach their prey in narrow crevices.

Pangolins are also important for soil health. As they dig through termite mounds and ant nests, they help to aerate the soil and distribute nutrients.

The Illegal Wildlife Trade and Pangolin Trafficking

The illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar industry that affects thousands of species around the world. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the illegal trade in wildlife is the fourth largest illegal trade in the world, after drugs, arms, and human trafficking.

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world, with an estimated one million individuals taken from the wild over the past decade. This demand is fueled by the belief that pangolin scales have medicinal properties, such as curing cancer and aiding lactation. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims.

Pangolin trafficking is a lucrative business, with the scales fetching up to $3,000 per kilogram in countries like China and Vietnam. The meat is also considered a delicacy and can fetch high prices. The illegal trade is driven by organized crime syndicates, who often work with corrupt officials to smuggle pangolins across borders.

The Demand for Pangolin Products and Traditional Medicine

The demand for pangolin products is primarily driven by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). TCM has been practiced for thousands of years and is based on the belief that the body’s energy, or qi, flows through channels known as meridians. When the flow of qi is disrupted, illness occurs.

TCM practitioners use various treatments, such as acupuncture and herbal medicine, to restore the flow of qi and promote healing.

Pangolin scales are believed to have healing properties in TCM, such as reducing inflammation and promoting blood circulation. However, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, and the use of pangolin scales in TCM has been illegal in China since 2018.

Despite the illegality, the demand for pangolin scales in TCM remains high, and the illegal trade continues to thrive. Education and awareness campaigns are crucial in changing attitudes towards the use of pangolin products and promoting sustainable alternatives.

Pangolin Conservation Efforts

Pangolin conservation efforts are underway around the world to protect this remarkable species from extinction. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists all eight pangolin species as either critically endangered or endangered.

Conservation efforts include habitat protection, law enforcement, and education and awareness campaigns. In 2016, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) placed all eight pangolin species on Appendix I, which prohibits international trade in pangolins and their products.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Pangolin Trafficking

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the world, and the illegal wildlife trade has not been immune to its effects. The pandemic has been linked to the consumption of wildlife, and pangolins have been identified as a possible intermediate host for the virus that causes COVID-19.

The pandemic has also disrupted the illegal trade in pangolins. Border closures and travel restrictions have made it more difficult for smugglers to transport pangolins across borders.

However, the pandemic has also created new challenges, such as a decrease in funding for conservation efforts and an increase in poverty, which may lead to an increase in illegal hunting and trade.

Famous Pangolin Ambassadors and Advocates

Many celebrities and public figures have spoken out in support of pangolin conservation efforts. Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, has been a vocal advocate for wildlife conservation and has highlighted the plight of the pangolin in various speeches and events.

Actress and wildlife activist Lisa Hywood founded the Tikki Hywood Trust, a pangolin rehabilitation and conservation organization in Zimbabwe.

Hywood has been instrumental in rescuing and rehabilitating pangolins that have been confiscated from the illegal trade.

Other advocates for pangolin conservation include environmentalist Jane Goodall, musician Jack Johnson, and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. These individuals use their platform to raise awareness about the pangolin’s plight and promote conservation efforts.

Ways to Support Pangolin Conservation

There are many ways to support pangolin conservation efforts, both locally and globally. One way is to donate to organizations that are working to protect pangolins, such as the Save Vietnam’s Wildlife organization and the Tikki Hywood Trust.

Another way to support pangolin conservation is to reduce the demand for pangolin products. This can be done by educating others about the illegal trade and the importance of protecting wildlife.

The Urgent Need for Action to Save the Pangolin

The pangolin is a remarkable mammal that plays a critical role in the ecosystem. However, its gentle nature and unique physical features have made it a prime target for poachers, and its numbers are rapidly declining.

The illegal trade in pangolin products is driven by traditional Chinese medicine and organized crime syndicates, and it is causing irreparable harm to the species and the environment.

Pangolin conservation efforts are underway around the world, but there is still much work to be done. We must continue to support these efforts and raise awareness about the pangolin’s plight.

By reducing the demand for pangolin products and promoting sustainable alternatives, we can help to protect this incredible species from extinction. The time to act is now, before it’s too late.

Facebook Comments Box