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.