The world’s most smuggled animals
Pangolins are one of the most unusual animals in the world, because they are the only mammals that have scales. However, demand in Asia has led to a big trade in the animals, even though it has been illegal to buy or sell pangolins since January 2017. In fact, a new report from animal charity, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has revealed that, despite the ban, pangolins are still the most trafficked animals in the world.
Animal trafficking is when wild animals are illegally captured or killed for their body parts – such as horns or scales – and smuggled across the world to be sold, often at very high prices.
WWF released the report after an investigation into the endangered species that are illegally traded within the Golden Triangle. This is the name of an area in south-east Asia where it is known that some of the world’s rarest animals are bought and sold. The triangle includes parts of China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, and animals are often smuggled across borders. “The markets of the Golden Triangle are a shocking and sobering sight, displaying thousands of body parts of some of the world’s most iconic and endangered animals,” explained Chrisgel Cruz, from WWF. This illegal trade is causing the populations of hundreds of species across the world to plummet.
Unfortunately for pangolins, their meat is considered an edible delicacy in countries such as China and Vietnam, and its scales are believed to have medicinal properties (even though there is no scientific evidence to support this). WWF is calling on law enforcers and the governments in control of the borders within the Golden Triangle to do more to stop this illegal trade and help protect these already endangered creatures.
The pangolin is
The golden triangle.