Feature Endangered Animal of April: The Pangolin

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Our feature endangered animal of the month is...

The Pangolin, the world's most trafficked mammal!

Photo of a pangolin

Apart from being considered the most illegally traded mammal in the world, pangolins are also the only mammals wholly-covered in scales - often being mistaken for reptiles.

There are eight species of pangolins found in areas such as India, China, south-east Asia and parts of Africa. In some countries, their meat is considered a delicacy and their scales are used in traditional medicine and folk remedies. Like rhino horns, pangolin scales are made from keratin and worth thousands of dollars per kilo. Even though they are protected by national and international laws, there is still growing international illegal trade in pangolins.

Photo of a pangolin, linking it to the Guardian article
Pangolins have also been linked to studies regarding the source of COVID-19. However, due to the illegal implications and conflicting research it has been stated that they “are not proven to be the key intermediary” in transmission of the virus to humans. Read more here.
For more on the trafficking and threats facing this species, check out episode 1 of The Green Channel's latest series release; Giving Nature a Voice.

The series is comprised of award-winning documentaries that aim to engage, illuminate and help reverse a dangerous trajectory of East Africa’s most critical environmental crises.

Watch Now
Speaking of eating animals, the South African government has recently reclassified 130 wild animals as meat, including lions, giraffes, white and black rhinos, cheetahs, hippos, elephants and crocodiles. According to this Act, they may be “slaughtered for food for human and animal consumption”. Read more about this here.
Photo of lion in captivity linking to article about South Africa classifying lions as meat.
This brings up many questions and concerns: will captivity increase the numbers of endangered animals if they are farmed? What reservoirs of viruses and other pathogens will explode in numbers? What diseases will they pick up from humans or other farm animals? Will this move increase or decrease poaching in the wild? Look at what happened to salmon when they decided to farm them. Disease amplification is now linked to the decline of wild fish populations. So much to be considered.
Wildlife Crossroads series poster
Have a love for African wildlife?Check out The Green Channel's series Wildlife Crossroads

A series that explores national parks in Africa that begins with a trip to the Okavango Delta in Botswana and a profile of a safari-guide school run by the Reed family.

Watch now here.

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