To protect the pangolin from extreme poaching, the Chinese government has removed pangolin scales from its list of approved medical ingredients. These are one of the most heavily poached mammals on Earth due to the medicinal properties.
According to WildAid, in 2019, authorities discovered over 130 tons of pangolin scales. To get this many, it would take an estimated 400,000 pangolins. Out of the 8 species of pangolin, 3 are critically endangered, while the rest are at least classified as vulnerable.
The pangolin will now receive first-level protection, which is the same as pandas.
This Will Have A Huge Effect
Outside of traditional Chinese medicine, there is no reason to hunt pangolins. Thus, by taking away the one reason poachers would have to go after the animal, it significantly reduces the likelihood of being a target.
However, the trade is not just in China.
From 1960, 90% of the Chinese pangolin population has been hunted. This has lead to poaching in Africa where more species reside. As a result, both the white-bellied pangolin and the giant pangolin (native to Africa) have become endangered.
If these protections were not put in place, it is very likely that pangolins would have gone instinct.
Why Save the Pangolin Now?
Hunting pangolins has been going on for the last 60 years, what has changed?
As we all know, the world is currently fighting COVID-19. And research by Duke University has found that pangolins that are in holding are actually incubating the virus. And since the virus did originate from China, It is very likely that pangolins played a part in its spreading.
In fact, it’s not only pangolins that are to blame. The Chinese government actually outlawed consuming all wild animals to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This is because the virus is likely to jump between other animals like bats.
Regardless of the reason, protecting this endangered species is something to celebrate.