265,000 signatures help save pangolins

Pangolin Pangolins are being poached to satisfy demand for their meat and scales in Asia

Oct 4, 2016

Great news for pangolins: the member states of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) decided in Johannesburg to afford them the highest level of protection. A complete ban on trade in all eight pangolin species is now in place. Worldwide protests prompted the move.

No other mammal in the world is hunted and trafficked as often as the pangolin. The IUCN estimates that one million were captured and killed over the past ten years – despite the restrictions and bans on pangolin hunting and trade with their meat and scales in numerous countries.

The decision of the delegates of more than 180 CITES member states to fully protect all eight pangolin species came not a minute too soon. In Asia, where four of the eight species are native, populations have dwindled to the point that increasing numbers of pangolins are being imported from Africa. Pangolin meat is considered a status symbol for “fine dining”, and the keratin scales – the same material as human hair and fingernails – are sought after in traditional Chinese medicine.

The Rainforest Rescue petition with its 265,000 signatures was presented to CITES officials in South Africa by our partner organization Pro Wildlife.

The trade ban must now be implemented effectively. With this in mind, we will continue collecting signatures in preparation for actions on World Pangolin Day in February.

The World Wildlife Conference took place from the 24th of September to the 5th of October in Johannesburg. Topics such as poaching, ivory and rhino horn trafficking, and protection for lions, sharks, rays, gray parrots and Barbary apes were also on the agenda.