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Pangolins In The News

I started a Substack to publicise the threat to pangolins. And now the news has overtaken my intentions. So here is the current story: 

Why are pangolins poached?

They are poached for their scales and other body parts that are used in traditional medicine in China and Vietnam and China. And as luxury dishes on the menu.

What does ‘the most trafficked’ mean?

Pangolins account for about 20% of everything that is poached. A million pangolins poached and killed in the last decade.

Why are they in the news today?

Well, it’s tempting to say that Pangolins bite back against the cruelty done to them. They are in the news because investigators think they may be an intermediate stage in the transmission of coronavirus from bats to humans.

Here’s what Reuters says:

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese researchers said the pangolin, a mammal illegally trafficked for its scales and meat, is a potential intermediate host for the coronavirus that has killed more than 600 people in China.

“This latest discovery will be of great significance for the prevention and control of the origin (of the virus),” South China Agricultural University, which led the research, said in a statement on its website.


Photo of a pangolin by Adam Tusk on Flickr, under Creative Commons release.

6 replies on “Pangolins In The News”

The Government has ordered a halt to badger culling. And DEFRA, (the Department For environment, Food, and Rural Affairs) is suing the Government, alleging that it did not follow the rules in halting the badger cull.

As we seem to be saying about more and more things recently, you couldn’t make it up. I am not sure if that is a specifically British idiom, but it means that if you put it in a work of fiction, people would say it was poor writing because it just wouldn’t happen. Except for modern Britain, it does.

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The British do love badgers. I love to see them. Tamara and I went to visit a sett on a private estate where the owner had dug out an underground tunnel where visitors could sit (in the dark and being very quiet) and watch the badgers on the other side of a plexiglass divider.

But we are run by people who ignore their own scientific advisors and slaughter badgers as a cheap (but ineffective) way to combat TB in cattle. There are better ways without killing badgers, such as insisting that farmers inoculate and stopping the casual transport of cattle from one herd to another. As it is, we have cattle spreading TB to different herds all over the UK. What’s worse is that it is very hard to kill all the badgers in a sett. So the survivors go off and, if they have TB, they spread it because they move territory. This is all well known science ‘on the ground’ but the politicians have ignored it until now.

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