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Protecting pangolins from wildlife crime

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“Pangolins defy the imagination—long, sleek, and covered head-to-toe in elegant scales. WWF Board Chair Neville Isdell and I revel in a shared quest to see a pangolin. We’ve searched in the most remote parts of southern Africa, where guides often look for lions batting around rolled-up pangolins like a cat toying with a ball of yarn. We’re still looking!”

Carter Roberts
President and CEO, WWF

While all eight pangolin species—which are spread across Africa and Asia—are protected under international laws, the animal is still vulnerable to the illegal wildlife trade. It fetches a high price in Asian countries, where its scales are used in traditional medicine and its meat is sold in high-end restaurants. Between 2011 and 2013, an estimated 117,000 to 234,000 pangolins were slaughtered for their parts. They’re now one of the most trafficked mammals in Asia.

To protect pangolins and other species being funneled into Asia’s black markets, WWF is working on campaigns to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products in China and Vietnam. We’re also lobbying for more effective national laws and antipoaching programs—measures needed to keep these animals out of markets and in the wild where they belong.

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World Wildlife magazine provides an inspiring, in-depth look at the connections between animals, people and our planet. Published quarterly by WWF, the magazine helps make you a part of our efforts to solve some of the most pressing issues facing the natural world.

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