Wednesday, October 05, 2016

CITES Establishes Trade Ban for Pangolins

credit: NYT
The representatives at the CITES conference in Johannesburg, South Africa have agreed to a world-wide trade ban to protect the endangered animal.  TRAFFIC, the world organization that monitors illegal trade in species, welcomed the decision as very good news.  Pangolins are under threat from a thriving international black market that trades in their scales and meat.  But the ban does not insure the eight species of pangolin will survive since enforcement of the convention signed by 183 nations is non-existent or weak in some countries.  Pangolin hunting is already illegal in many of the member nations. It is the most trafficked animal in the world according to the IUCN.  Its meat can bring $150 a pound.

The insectivore with a long, sticky tongue [photo] was once thought to be related to the anteater, but now genetic studies suggest it is more related to raccoons and giant pandas. They do not thrive in captivity, but if given specially prepared mashes of ants and termites, they can do well.  Pangolins rescued from the wild have their injuries treated--often severed limbs or dog bites--and are rehabilitated.  Then they are gradually re-introduced into the wild.  One hundred fourteen nations voted for the ban with Indonesia voting against and five abstentions, including China.  Conservationists want to focus now on getting individual countries to pass the necessary legislation to suppress the illegal trade.