Take pangolins off the menu now!

A pangolin in the forest Pangolins may be almost extinct, but they are still being hunted.
301,960 supporters

End of campaign: May 16, 2017

Pangolins are nearly extinct in the wild. Yet in Vietnam and China, the animals are still considered a delicacy and their scales are in great demand for traditional "medicine". Call on the Chinese and Vietnamese governments to stop the pangolin from being hunted to oblivion.

Call to action

To: the governments of China and Vietnam

Take effective action to stamp out the illicit pangolin trade.

Read letter

Pangolins have become so rare in the wild that coming across one is not unlike finding a winning lottery ticket for villagers in remote corners of Asia. 

Pangolin poaching and smuggling is a lucrative business, with Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants willing to pay premium prices.

Traffickers are frequently arrested while shipping hundreds of live animals or pangolin scales by the ton, but the true magnitude of the trade remains in the dark.

Eight different pangolin species exist in Asia and Africa. All four Asian species are already on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and pressure on the African species is mounting. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has published an interactive map highlighting the international nature of the pangolin trade.

The survival of the pangolin is in the hands of the Chinese and Vietnamese governments – only they can pass and enforce stricter laws to curb hunting and shut down the market. Please call on Chinese and Vietnamese policymakers to stop standing by idly while the pangolin is hunted to extinction.

Back­ground

As endangered wildlife, pangolins have not received the attention they deserve, even though all eight species of the scaly creature are on the Red List. The situation is most dire for the critically endangered Chinese and Sunda pangolins, which could become extinct within the next fifteen years.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has seen the need to establish a specialist group dedicated to preserving the animal. Hunting and illegal trade are the main forces driving the toothless insectivores to extinction – no other mammal is subject to such extensive smuggling.

The pangolin's scales – which consist of keratin, the same material as human fingernails – are believed to have beneficial properties in traditional Chinese and Vietnamese medicine. The ills they supposedly cure include “excessive nervousness and hysterical crying in children, women possessed by devils and ogres, malarial fever and deafness” (Nature 141, 72-72, 08 January 1938).

Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy and often among the most costly dishes on restaurant menus.

According to some estimates, hunters have killed one million pangolins over the last ten years. Between 2011 and 2013 alone, 23,400 illegally traded animals were confiscated. 

Tens of thousands of pangolins smuggled

In April 2013, a Chinese ship with 2,000 live pangolins was stopped in the Philippines. In August 2013, more than six tons of live pangolins were discovered in a shipping container on its way to Vietnam from Indonesia. On May 12, 2014, 956 frozen pangolins were confiscated in China.

On May 28, one ton of pangolin scales with a market value of 645,000 dollars was intercepted by authorities in Hong Kong, making it the world’s largest African pangolin find destined for the Asian market to date.

African species are coming under pressure due to the increasing scarcity of Asian pangolins. The growing number of Chinese living in Africa is also contributing to the problem.

In January 2016, a paper co-authored by the wildlife trade monitoring organization TRAFFIC and published in Global Ecology And Conservation highlighted the booming illegal pangolin trade in Myanmar.

Letter

To: the governments of China and Vietnam

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As endangered wildlife, pangolins have not received the attention they deserve, even though all eight species are on the Red List. The situation is most dire for the critically endangered Chinese and Sunda pangolins, which could become extinct within the next fifteen years.

Hunting and illegal trade are primarily responsible for the collapse of pangolin populations. The keratin scales are believed to have beneficial properties in your country’s traditional medicine. In addition, pangolin meat is considered a delicacy and often among the most costly dishes on restaurant menus.

I call on you to take effective action to fight the hunting and illegal trade of these endangered species. Thank you.

Sincerely,

News and updates

Success | Oct 4, 2016

265,000 signatures help save pangolins

Pangolin

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.

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Press release | Sep 27, 2016

Petition with more than 265,000 signatures calling for pangolin conservation to be delivered to CITES CoP17 in South Africa

Rainforest Rescue has collected more than 265,000 signatures calling for strict pangolin protection and will deliver the petition to the CITES conference in South Africa.

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News | Jun 30, 2016

Scales of more than 1,000 poached pangolins found

Hong Kong customs officials made a gruesome discovery onboard an incoming freighter: four tons of pangolin scales. As traditional Chinese “medicine”, the shipment would have had a street value of $1.25 million. A Rainforest Rescue petition is calling on the Chinese government to strengthen protection for pangolins.

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Press release | Feb 16, 2016

Rainforest Rescue calls for tough pangolin protection measures

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world – demand for its meat and scales could wipe it out in a few short years. Rainforest Rescue is promoting a petition addressed to the Chinese and Vietnamese governments calling for robust measures to ensure their protection – more than 200,000 supporters have signed it to date.

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News | Feb 16, 2016

World Pangolin Day events in Berlin and Leipzig

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world – demand for its meat and scales could drive it to extinction in a few short years. Join us in taking action to protect them on World Pangolin Day.

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