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Pangolins thrown a lifeline at global wildlife summit with total trade ban

 


THE GUARDIAN
Damian Carrington in Johannesburg
Wednesday 28 September 2016

World’s most illegally trafficked mammal wins total ban on international trade in all species under the strictest Cites protection possible

Pangolins, the world’s most illegally trafficked mammal, were thrown a lifeline at a global wildlife summit on Wednesday with a total trade ban in all species.

More than a million wild pangolins have been killed in the last decade, to feed the huge and rising appetite in China and Vietnam for its meat and its scales, a supposed medicine. The unique scaly anteaters are fast heading for extinction in Asia and poachers are now plundering Africa.

But the 182 nations of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) unanimously agreed a total ban on international trade on all species at the summit in Johannesburg, prompting cheers and applause from delegates.

Cites works to crack down on wildlife trafficking, currently a $20bn-a-year criminal enterprise, and to ensure the legal trade in food, skins, pets and traditional remedies does not threaten the survival of species. The summit also boosted protection for the barbary ape on Wednesday, Europe’s only wild primate, and a spectacular-horned mountain goat.

The four Asian species of pangolin – Indian, Philippine, Sunda and Chinese - have been decimated by illegal poaching. The animals breed slowly and are easy to catch – they simply roll up when threatened. “It is an effective strategy against a hungry lion, but a disadvantage when approached by a human collector,” said Nigeria’s delegate, who added that the price of pangolin scales has risen tenfold in last five years.


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