Africa: A Question of Scales - How to Protect the African Pangolin

analysis

A policy document has been released that assesses gaps in the strategies and policies used to protect the most trafficked mammal in the world -- the pangolin.

"A question of scales", a report compiled by Richard Chilen for ENACT (Enhancing Africa's response to transnational organised crime), emphasises the need for urgent action to protect the animal known as the scaly anteater.

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world. Markets in Asia have a voracious appetite for the solitary creatures and after decimating the Asian population, African numbers are decreasing at alarming rates.

On the African continent, pangolins are primarily consumed as bush meat, or used in traditional medicines, but in the past few years the number of animals leaving the country has skyrocketed. They are sold alive as delicacies or killed for their scales. Pangolin scales are used to treat a number of illnesses in both Asia and Africa, and this year alone almost 70,000kg of scales have left the continent.

Presenting his policy document at the Institute of Security Studies in Pretoria on Wednesday 6 November 2019, Chilen argued that the illegal trade in pangolins, both living animals and animal body parts, should no longer be perceived...

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