Save the pangolins
Pangolins, the majestic ant- and termite-eating secretive, solitary and nocturnal mammal, are facing an alarming decline in number in the wild.
There are eight species of pangolins known to zoologists: four from the continent of Africa and another four from Asia. In the Philippines, the endangered pangolin can be found in Palawan.
The biggest threat to pangolins has been rampant poaching, which is the single biggest factor for their rapid decline across China and Southeast Asia.
Pangolins are currently the most trafficked and poached mammal in the planet and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora has listed them as one of the species that is in immediate need of maximum conservation efforts, or else they run the serious risk of becoming extinct.
The massive trafficking and killing of pangolins in China and Vietnam for their scales (believed to have medicinal properties, with no scientific foundation) and bush meat as a delicacy in several high-end restaurants are posing serious threats.
If the Chinese, South and Southeast Asian governments do not take appropriate steps in the conservation of pangolins, the majestic mammal has very little option left.
Asian countries need to work jointly in cracking down on illegal wildlife markets. A multination joint management of fringe, remote border areas, natural forests and wildlife could help in pangolin conservation.
SAIKAT KUMAR BASU,
Apt 6-409, 43 Street South,
Lethbridge AB Canada T1J 4B3
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