|Pangolins thrown a lifeline at global wildlife summit with total trade ban
Damian Carrington in Johannesburg
Wednesday 28 September 2016
most illegally trafficked mammal wins total ban on international trade
in all species under the strictest Cites protection possible
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
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.
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.
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.