Friday, 14 March 2014

'Shocking' scale of pangolin smuggling revealed

By Ella Davies
Reporter, BBC Nature

Official records show that pangolins are being illegally traded on a "shocking" scale, according to a report.

The globally threatened animals are sought for their scales which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Annual seizures have been estimated at roughly 10,000 animals but experts warn the illegal trade is far greater

Chinese enforcement officials worked with researchers from the UK to assess the extent of the problem.
 
Pangolins on film
Zhao-Min Zhou, from the Public Security Bureau for Forests in China's Yunnan province, worked with researchers from the University of Oxford to analyse official records of pangolins seized from smugglers.

The findings are published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

"The numbers of pangolins traded are shocking, and all the more so considering the pharmaceutical pointlessness of the trade. This trade is intolerably wasteful," said Prof Macdonald, director of the University of Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), and a co-author of the paper.

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