Hope for pangolins as protection boosted in China

Katie Ramirez
June 12, 2020

Paul Thomson of Save Pangolins said it was a breakthrough moment for pangolins.

"These actions of China will have a real impact, these are steps that were critical, that needed to be taken if real conservation was going to happen for these animals", said in a statement David Olson, director of Conservation at WWF Hong Kong.

"We will release a lot more soon", said Zhou, who has vowed to free all pangolins in captivity in China.

Animal protection groups have praised these decisions, which could drastically reduce trade in pangolin. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, pangolin populations in China have dropped by more than 90% since 1960.

Understandably enough, China has removed pangolins from its official 2020 listing of traditional Chinese medicine.

Experts and citizens advocated that the country takes that step to effectively fight smuggling of pangolins, whose scales are highly quoted for their supposed benefits to treat arthritis, stimulate breastfeeding and increase male virility. In Asia, the major cause of this is the demand for "luxury" pangolin meat and its medicinal scales.

Hope for pangolins as protection boosted in China

China issued a ban on pangolin hunting in 2007, and has suspended all commercial imports of pangolin and its products since 2018. But pangolin also believed to be the possible host of the novel coronavirus despite the lack of scientific evidence.

Pangolins have received particular attention since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Moreover, the endangered animal is a victim of a coordinated trafficking effort.

China's Congress pushed forward a ban on the consumption of meat from wild animals but there was uncertainty as to what wildlife will still be allowed for use in medicine and the fur and leather industries. Conservation experts have warned that in order for the ban to be effective, it must be enforced by the national government and combined with public education.

"The latest version of the Chinese Pharmacopoeia for 2020 does not include pangolins, which means the mammals will no longer be used as traditional Chinese medicine, according to the newspaper".

"Pangolin (was) listed in two 'sections" of the pharmacopoeia, as an ingredient in the first section, and also within the second section which lists formulae for patent medicines, ' White said.

'Not only do pangolins need to be removed from the list - pangolins are already a tragedy and rarely can be seen now - all endangered species should be removed from the medicine list, ' she said. There will be no turning back then'.

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