Enhanced protection of pangolins should be a priority amid growing threats to their survival linked to illegal hunting and climatic stresses, an African campaigner said on Saturday during the World Pangolin Day.
Edith Kabesiime, the campaigns manager at World Animal Protection African Office, said the nocturnal, scaled mammal that is found in tropical forests of Asia and Africa has become endangered due to human induced threats.
“Pangolins endure unimaginable suffering as they are smoked and dragged out of their trees and burrows, bludgeoned with clubs and arrows and then boiled, sometimes alive for their scales,” Kabesiime said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
She said that pangolins could surpass elephants and rhinos as the most trafficked animal amid rising demand for their scales and meat in the global traditional medicine industry.
Kabesiime said there is no scientific proof on the medicinal value of pangolin’s body parts, adding that their protection is key to maintaining ecosystems balance.
The commercial trade in pangolins is prohibited under Annex 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora.
Kabesiime said that strong enforcement of national and international laws, promotion of herbal and synthetic therapies coupled with support for alternative livelihoods among rural communities are key to boosting protection of pangolins.