The Pangolin Trade
The pangolin trade is the illegal poaching, trafficking, and sale of pangolins, parts of pangolins, or pangolin-derived products on the black market. Pangolins are believed to be the world’s most trafficked mammal, accounting for as much as 20% of all illegal wildlife trade. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), more than a million pangolins were poached in the decade prior to 2014.
- The animals are trafficked mainly for their scales,
- which are believed to treat a variety of health conditions in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM),
- and as a luxury food in Vietnam and China.
- In Africa, pangolins are sold as a form of bushmeat, for ritual or spiritual purposes, and use in traditional African medicine.
- Many times the animal is trafficked just for clothing and fashion.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which regulates the international wildlife trade, has placed restrictions on the pangolin market since 1975, and in 2016, it added all eight pangolin species to its Appendix I, reserved for the strictest prohibitions on animals threatened with extinction.They are also listed on the IUCN Red List, all with decreasing populations and designations ranging from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered
Pangolin In India
Of the eight species found worldwide (four each in Asia and Africa), two are found in India: Indian Pangolin Manis crassicaudata and Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla.
The Indian Pangolin is found throughout the country south of the Himalayas, excluding the north-eastern region while the Chinese Pangolin ranges through Assam and the eastern Himalayas. However, the current population of these mammals in India is unknown as no systematic studies have been done so far.
Both Indian Pangolin and Chinese Pangolin are listed in Schedule I of the Act, therefore hunting, trade or any other form of utilisation of the species or their body parts and derivatives is banned.
TRAFFIC India released a study that revealed that nearly 6,000 pangolins have been poached between 2009 and 2017! TRAFFIC also affirmed that this is likely to be an underestimate as only a small fraction of illegal wildlife trade is detected.
Source: WWF INDIA