Wildlife authorities are stepping up efforts in Vietnam to help save an endangered animal, the pangolin, prized for it’s scales and meat. Julie Noce reports.
The plight of the pangolin
Police search a car in Vietnam and find dozens of mesh bags containing pangolins.
The mammal- found mainly in Asia and Africa- resembles a cross between an armadillo and an anteater.
Vietnam is often a transit point for pangolins on their way to China where they’re prized for their meat and scales- which some believe can cure cancer.
Years of illegal trade and sales of the animal have put pangolins on an endangered species list.
Conservation groups and sanctuaries are doing what they can, but sometimes have limited options.
The heavier the animal- the higher the price they fetch- which conservationists say leads to cruel overfeeding practices.
They crush rocks into powder and mix it with wheat and egg to plump up the pangolin’s stomach, this person said. By the time we get them, they’re suffering from stomach diseases that develop into cancer, so the number that survive in captivity is low.
As authorities crack down, new laws make poaching, trafficking and trading of the animal and its products a crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail, and a $90 fine.
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora are meeting later this month to discuss the fate of the pangolin and other animals during its 17th conference in Johannesburg.