Sara Mizzi - NWF Mag - Pangolins: Too Prized to Survive? - In appreciation for Pangolins and the heroes fighting to help them--like Ray Jansen, Jonathan Baillie and Maria Diekmann. --tma
ON APRIL 23, 2015, police and conservationists in Sumatra, Indonesia, seized an illegal shipment of pangolins valued at approximately $1.8 million dollars. Destined for China, the haul included five tons of frozen pangolins, 170 pounds of pangolin scales and 96 live pangolins—one of the largest such seizures ever recorded.
Sadly, the news signaled a growing trend in the smuggling of pangolins—scaly, cat-sized mammals from Asia and Africa that are little known and increasingly coveted for meat and traditional medicine. In another recent bust, for example, customs officials at Vietnam’s airport in Ho Chi Minh City seized some 94 pounds of pangolin scales found in a smuggler’s luggage. Unfortunately, most such shipments escape notice.
To spotlight the problem and discuss solutions, APWG convened an International Conference on Pangolin Conservation, Trade and Rehabilitation in South Africa in October 2015. “Our aim is to share knowledge and expertise in an attempt to better understand these unique mammals and to stop the decline of all eight species of pangolin globally,” says Jansen. Given their secretive nature, however, pangolins won’t be easy to understand—or to save. ...