|Most Trafficked Mammal-Pangolins
Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam (CNN)
It looks like a ...
"Dragon,” I say.
"Artichoke,” says a colleague.
"His name is P8," a researcher says.
But everyone calls him Lucky.
If you hear his story it's easy to understand why.
is a pangolin -- a rare, scale-covered mammal, about the size of a
house cat, that’s so bizarre it almost forces your brain to flip
through a Rolodex of more-familiar images. It could be described as a
walking pinecone or an artichoke with legs – a tiny dinosaur or
friendly crocodile. The pangolin possesses none of the cachet of
better-known animals that are hot on the international black market. It
lacks the tiger’s grace, the rhino’s brute strength. If the pangolin
went to high school, it would be the drama geek -- elusive, nocturnal,
rarely appreciated and barely understood. When it's frightened, it
actually curls up into a roly-poly ball.
The pangolin could go extinct before most people realize it exists.
Or, more to the point: It could go extinct because of that.