demand for the pangolin, a scale-covered anteater, is forcing the
endangered animals closer to extinction, wildlife organizations
announced this week.
Pangolins are disappearing in China and
across their ranges in East and Southeast Asia. They have become the
most frequently seized mammal in Asia's illegal wildlife trade, as smugglers sell the creatures to meet culinary and medicinal demand.
pangolin decline comes despite national legislation that bans hunting
the species throughout its Southeast Asia range. Meanwhile, the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora (CITES) prohibits the pangolin trade across borders.
The decline in pangolin populations and
intensified efforts to curb the illegal trade have led to rising prices
for pangolin products - further enticing organized crime rings to
smuggle the endangered animals.