According to news reports, over 7,500 kilograms of pangolin scales have been seized in the last five years in Cameroon. The news has again brought to light the detrimental reach of international trafficking and poaching in Africa. Even more alarming, this month, was the seizure in Vietnam of 2,500 kg of pangolin scales in just one shipment from Nigeria, which the federal government has decided to investigate.
Traffic, a biodiversity conservation and sustainable development NGO focused on wildlife trade, alleges that more than 20,000 kg of pangolins and their parts, mostly from Africa, and are trafficked internationally every year. In Central Africa, it’s estimated 400,000 to three million pangolins are murdered every year. While there has been much global awareness and fuss around the hunting of rhinos and elephants for ivory, it is pangolins who are atop the global chart of mammals unsheltered to poaching.
The huge volume of scales trafficked and the high rate of poaching poses a serious danger to Africa’s pangolin population. Conservationists say even the least endangered species wouldn’t be able to brave this level of exploitation.
There, four African pangolin species: Temminck’ ground, white-bellied, giant ground and black-bellied. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)—to which Nigeria, Cameroon, and other African countries are a party—forbids the commercialization of the scaly mammal. Yet, trafficking in pangolins continues to flourish especially in hotspots of Nigeria (a trafficking hub) and Cameroon.
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Credit image/ google images/Pangolin