The world’s most trafficked mammal is getting some badly needed protection.
Pangolins are sometimes referred to as “artichokes with legs.” But delegates from 180 countries take them very seriously. They recently banned trade in pangolins and pangolin products at an international wildlife conference in South Africa.
Animal lovers may know more about elephants or rhinos, but the elusive, prehistoric-looking pangolin is threatened with extinction. Their keratin scales (made of the same material as our fingernails and hair) are often ground up and falsely advertised as medicine.
Renewed ivory ban
Officials rejected two proposals to reopen the ivory trade, and those rejections will protect African elephants most in danger of poaching.
“Domestic ivory markets allow organized crime syndicates to launder poached ivory through legal trade and perpetuate the consumer demand driving the elephant poaching crisis,” Ginette Hemley of the World Wildlife Fund said.
A ray of hope for sharks
Thresher sharks, silky sharks and certain rays also got some help. Every year, up to 100 million sharks are killed for their fins or caught in fishing nets.
“This is a big leap forward in preventing further overexploitation and population decline,” said Anna Oposa, shark champion, referring to the new protections.