What is the most trafficked animal in the world? If you answered “the pangolin,” you’d be right. The rare, scale-covered mammal is about the size of a house cat and is close to extinction due to people’s insatiable appetite for its meat and scales. Fortunately, 110 pangolins were recently rescued by the Indonesian Navy — preventing them from being sold on the black market.
According to GoodNewsNetwork, 110 of the adorable scaly mammals were recently seized from a pair of smugglers on a fishing boat headed for Malaysia. The Indonesian Navy stopped the boat last week, after it received a tip from local citizens of the Sumatra island. Had the pangolins reached the smugglers’ destination, they would have been sold for as much as $1.5 million USD.
Fortunately, they are now headed to a wildlife reserve. Police are now looking for the two smugglers. If caught, they could face up to five years in prison and over $7,000 in fines if they are caught.
Like rhinos are sought after for their horns, pangolins are hunted for their scales. Both the horns and scales are made of keratin — the same stuff as your fingernails. Because of this, there is no reason they should be hunted and traded on the black market. However, because pangolin meat is a delicacy in the far east, they are still being killed. As a result, the shy, nocturnal creature has been pushed to the verge of extinction.
According to Global Animal, at least 400,000 pangolins are being killed just in central Africa every year for the trade. In reality, that number could be as high as 2.7 million. Said Daniel Ingram, who conducted research on the mammals, “Pangolins have been hunted out of many areas in Asia and recent analyses show there is a growing international trade between Africa and Asia. If we don’t act now to better understand and protect these charismatic animals, we may lose them.”
While conservation efforts for the pangolin are looking bleak, there is hope. Last year, delegates at a UN wildlife convention voted to ban the trade of all eight species of Asian and African pangolins. And, thanks to alternative media sites such as this one, the public is learning about why it is important to protect the mammals.
Read more: BREAKING: China Bans Ivory Trade
THIS ARTICLE IS OFFERED UNDER CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE. IT’S OKAY TO REPUBLISH IT ANYWHERE AS LONG AS ATTRIBUTION BIO IS INCLUDED AND ALL LINKS REMAIN INTACT (PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS DOES NOT INCLUDE THE IMAGES)
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here