Raising awareness on World Pangolin Day: protecting pangolins from the devastating impacts of the wildlife trade
Tens of thousands of pangolins are brutally killed each year in the cruel and illegal wildlife trade for use as meat and in Traditional Asian Medicine.
Today, on World Pangolin Day, it’s important to learn more about the plight of these animals and what can be done to end their suffering.
The illegal wildlife trade is a devastating problem that affects many species, but the most heavily trafficked animal in the world is often considered to be the pangolin.
It is estimated that tens of thousands of pangolins are killed and traded every year in the commercial wildlife trade – the exact number is difficult to determine as the illegal wildlife trade is often hidden. Pangolins are poached for their meat and scales which are highly valued in Traditional Asian Medicine and as a luxury food item.
These animals are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) agreement, making all forms of pangolin hunting and trade illegal. Regardless, the industry is booming due to its profitability – the scales from a single pangolin can provide the poacher a life-changing sum of money.
But this is not sustainable.
The magnitude of this practice creates a devastating loss for the species, as pangolins have extremely low reproduction rates and are slow to recover from population declines. In fact, this immense demand has led to all eight species of pangolin currently threatened or endangered.
The journey to market for these pangolins is sadly a traumatic one.
World Animal Protection’s own investigation documented the cruel and gruesome ways pangolins are poached and slaughtered. Warning: this next part is not for the faint of heart... They can be smoked and dragged out of their trees and burrows, bludgeoned with clubs and machetes, and then boiled, sometimes while still alive.
If they make it to market alive, they are trapped in a cage in an unfamiliar setting, surrounded by other stressed-out animals all awaiting their fates.
This is one of the few lucky pangolins who survived poaching.
This pangolin is one of the 150 pangolins rescued by the Thai army in a single raid back in 2015. These animals were on their way from Myanmar to China to be sold for use in Traditional Asian Medicines.
Sadly, these 150 individuals represent just a drop in the bucket of the tens of thousands who are not so lucky every year.
The illegal wildlife trade is a serious problem that is having a devastating impact on not only animals, but humans too as it poses serious health implications. It is crucial that we all work together to combat this issue and protect these animals for future generations.
Today on World Pangolin Day (or any day!), help us spread awareness of these amazing animals and the devastating impact the wildlife trade has on their survival.
Together, we can protect these animals and their habitats.