Pangolins, the scaly anteaters of Asia and Africa, are facing extinction. They are the most illegally traded mammal in the world, with a staggering one million pangolins believed to have been taken from the wild over the past decade. Pangolins are disappearing at a rate that worries experts and could spell the end for one of nature’s most distinctive and unique animals.
All eight pangolin species are currently listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES); this provides some control on international trade—particularly for the Asian species, which have a zero commercial export quota for specimens removed from the wild. Despite this measure, the pangolin trade remains rampant and is threatening their future. It is critical to the survival of these animals that all eight species be transferred to Appendix I of CITES, the highest international protection available, which would effectively ban international commercial trade.