If you were asked what the most trafficked animal in the world is, what would you say? Most people might say elephant, tiger, monkey, etc. But the the most accurate answer probably should be pangolin, a rare, scale-covered mammal commonly living in Asia.
A Pangolin is the size of a large cat, looking something like a friendly crocodile. Pangolins feed on ants and termites. They have a tongue longer than their body. A pangolin can eat 70 million ants in a year. It is a predator of termites, which are one of the top five pests in the world. One pangolin weighing 6 pounds can protect over 4000 acres of forest from the dangers of termites.
However, in Southeast Asian countries, especially in China, the pangolin is facing a tragic fate as it becomes a delicacy to show off a person’s personal wealth at the dinning table. Their scales are boiled off their bodies for use in traditional Chinese medicine. Thousands of panolins are trafficked, traded and killed in Southeast Asia per year. They are going extinct.
When government officials are feted with a feast of wild animals, pangolin is a must-have dish on the table.
When it’s frightened, a pangolin will curl up into a roly-poly ball. Sadly, this feature facilitates the secret transport by criminals, according to Tencent News. Most of the pangolins transported are frozen, and still alive.