UN approves a total ban on trade in pangolin. The move can contribute in the rocovery of gentle and shy mammal
Pangolin is probably the weirdest animal to live on Earth. The creature has a tiny body covered with scales and also has a remarkable ability to roll up into a ball. But unfortunately, this gentle and relatively shy animal is heading towards extinction due to poaching and illegal trade.
Pangolins are often illegally traded, which is usually driven by a demand for meat and scales in Asia and Africa. As a result of this unregulated or excessive poaching, all the species of pangolins are now close to extinction. But they may still have a little chance to bounce back.
On Wednesday, the United Nations have approved a ban on the trade in all eight species of pangolin and also proposed regulations to protect their population. The treaty has been signed by more than 180 nations.
Representatives and conservationists across the globe gathered in U.N.'s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or CITES in South Africa on September 28 to discuss plans to try and save the heavily trafficked mammal and ended up agreeing on a ban in trade.
“The pangolin today is regarded as the most heavily trafficked mammal in the world,” said CITES chief John Scanlon. “There has been a massive surge in the illegal take of the pangolin for its meat and for its scales.”
Previously, CITES had allowed a trade in pangolins but under restricts rules and regulations, which obviously did not work well and could not protect the animal. A total ban on pangolin trade is a much-needed move and if managed properly, it could lead to the recovery of the endangered mammal species.
“Giving pangolins full protection under CITES will eliminate any question about legality of trade, making it harder for criminals to traffic them and increasing the consequences for those who do.” Ginette Hemley from WWF conservation group said.
There are a total of eight species of pangolins in the world. Of those, four are found in Asia and four in Africa. Though, all are vulnerable to extinction but two of them are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Pangolins feed on wild ants and termites and have a tongue, sticky tongue almost as long as their bodies.
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Hopefully, this international effort to conserve the pangolin could lead to better results in the future and help bring them back.