Pangolin dinner stirs calls for species’ protection
Conservation groups have called for the government to increase protection of the Chinese pangolin after a social media post triggered public concern over the critically endangered wild mammal.
A Sina Weibo user posted four pictures from 2015 showing a pangolin meat banquet held for a business delegation from Hong Kong. It triggered public criticism and has led to an investigation.
The Chinese pangolin, one of the eight species of pangolins, has been heavily hunted. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that consuming the roasted scales of the pangolin can help to detoxify one’s body and relieve palsy, while the animal’s meat is considered a delicacy.
Wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic and environmental organization WildAid in September released an overview of the pangolin trade in China. The report said the “illegal trade appears to be continuing unabated”
One of the authors of the review told China Daily that it is difficult to protect the Chinese pangolin, unlike the giant panda or snow leopard. “The majority of rescue centers or zoos don’t even know how to keep pangolins alive, not to mention encourage reproduction,” she said.