Pangolin facing extinction in part from bogus Chinese medicine treatments

What’s the most dangerous animal in the world? Man.

The plight of the pangolin: One of the planet’s most extraordinary and intelligent animals is being hunted to extinction.

Believed to be the world’s most trafficked animal, a single pangolin can fetch as much as $7,000 (Β£4,300) on the black market.

The pangolin – unique among mammals because of its reptilian scales – is considered a delicacy in parts of Asia. Its scales are also used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat conditions that include inward-growing eyelashes, boils and poor circulation.

Its conservation status is being reviewed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and two species, the Chinese and the sunda (Malayan pangolin), are likely to be designated as “critically endangered” next year.

Mr Challender said the four species in Asia could be extinct in as little as 20 years. The four African species may last longer.

It is believed that the pangolin population has decreased with 94% since the 60s.

This is not new news. We’ve covered the sad story before here.. But it’s important to get the word out there in order to push public opinion that it is NOT OK to drive an animal to extinction because it tastes good or is believed to have some magical powers. This poor thing is not an alien creature, it’s a fascinating animal of earth that does not deserve this fate.


  11 comments for “Pangolin facing extinction in part from bogus Chinese medicine treatments

  1. October 13, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Alright, that’s it, China. Unless you start clamping down on this @#$@!# like you do dissidents, I’m going to start a rumor that panda wieners cure baldness.

  2. One Eyed Jack
    October 13, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    I wonder in situations like this why someone wouldn’t farm these animals. It has to be cheaper to farm them than to hunt/trap them. destroying the wild population.

    I get that some people find it abhorrent to farm a creature like this, but how is it any different from farming chickens, cattle, or swine? Their diet is an obstacle, but not insurmountable. If it protects the wild population, I say great solution because it’s not like you’re going to stop the demand. In a quick internet search, it appears that most pangolin farms are thought to be fronts for trafficking poached, wild pangolin.

  3. Chris Howard
    October 13, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    And the ironical thing is that many of the followers of alternative medicine in the West are also ardent environmentalists.

  4. Chris Howard
    October 13, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Wait? Panda penis doesn’t cure baldness?! WTF, Bob? Now what am I supposed to do about this whole male pattern thingy?! Scapula of the narwhal, perhaps? πŸ˜‰

  5. October 14, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    @One Eyed Jack: Some animals can be ridiculously hard to farm. In Bali they use a ferret like animal (can’t remember the name) in the production of what is the most expensive coffee in the world. The animals eat the fruit from the coffee, and the bean passes through the digestive system intact. The beans are then cleaned, roasted and ground (the process also removes the bean’s shell, removing that particular impurity).

    A while back they tried to get the animals to do it in captivity. Two inexplicable problems surfaced: 1. The animals would eat the whole fruit, including the coffee bean – meaning that no coffee could be produced from the process, and 2. The animals refused to breed.

    Now, they just let them run wild and every morning workers scour the surrounding area for these “acorn-like” coffee bean filled faeces. Yummy.

  6. Brandon
    October 14, 2013 at 2:29 AM

    I believe you are thinking of the civet.

  7. Nos482
    October 14, 2013 at 4:31 AM

    I can’t wait till TCM learns about the healing powers of poacher brains…

  8. October 14, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    There was a good list of qualities that domesticatable animals should have in Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel.

  9. steve weston
    October 14, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    civet ?! mate, you’d have to do more than that before i’d drink ferret “acorns”

  10. October 14, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Wow! I’ve never heard of this amazing-looking animal. What a shame we can’t leave them alone.

  11. JerryW
    October 15, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    While i don’t believe we should make any species extinct, some animals do die out, always have. It takes careful, unbiased observations and information to know. Horses would have died out without us finding them useful. We affect the environment in ways that take years of hard work to understand. Not all we do is evil. Apples, well, most domesticated plants and animals survive only because we breed them to survive and be useful to us. Those plants and animals in turn have effects on the larger environment. Complexity is not a reason to stop working hard, or stop trying. It is the very reason to produce more hard work and understanding. We have the tools. Do we have the work ethic? Do we care? Can we put aside ideology and really understand. The last part seems to be the human weakness and strength. Truth is the only goal. Action is what we do well. Understanding of the overall effects should be at the top. Before action, before ideology, before starting in data collection. Understand history, future effects, outcome, where will that outcome lead? Awesome animal. Awesome history. Superstition should never be any part of the equation. Again the weakness of the human condition. We have tools for that. Please provide a work ethic in that area.

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