Hope for pangolins as protection boosted in China

James Marshall
June 12, 2020

The scaly mammals have been pushed to the brink by illegal hunting for their scales and meat.

The animal, which lives in Africa and Asia, is thought by some scientists to be the possible host of the novel coronavirus that emerged at a market in China's Wuhan city previous year.

Some people believe that eating the scales of the pangolin can help to improve sexual function, soothe inflammation and boost circulation. The remaining five species, including the Indian pangolin, are listed as either vulnerable or endangered.

However, there's some good news for the mammals.

While worldwide trade in the pangolin is illegal, the animal's body parts have frequently been sold at high prices on the black market as they are commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, though scientists say they have no therapeutic value. Sophia Zhang, director of the Pangolin Working Group at the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, told CNN that while she was pleased by the result, she felt it came "a bit late" as hundreds of thousands of pangolins have already been hunted and killed over the years.

The move, reported by China's Health Times newspaper, comes after China raised the animal's protected status to the highest level last week.

Pangolin released under new Chinese protections
Hope for pangolins as protection boosted in China

Pangolin scales can reportedly be sold for about 800 yuan ($113) per kilogram in China. A year ago alone, more than 130 tons of pangolin related products were seized by the government, which represents up to 400,000 animals.

Following the outbreak, the Chinese government outlawed the consumption of all wild animals countrywide in an effort to avoid further deadly outbreaks. According to c4ads, a Washington-based think tank that monitors illicit wildlife networks.

With the majority of seizures happening in China, India & Vietnam.

In April, China's National Health Commission approved Tan re Qing- a traditional Chinese treatment- made from bear bile, goat horn powder and herbs as treatment for COVID-19 although the practice has been branded cruel by animal advocacy groups.

Scientists say the coronavirus was most likely transmitted from bats to humans via an intermediary animal such as the pangolin. But the pangolin's link with covid-19 certainly has a silver lining.

Experts and citizens advocated that the country takes that step to effectively fight smuggling of pangolins, whose scales are highly quoted for their supposed benefits to treat arthritis, stimulate breastfeeding and increase male virility. Ever since December 2019 when the coronavirus outbreak happened.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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