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Thread: Pangolins

  1. #1
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    Busted!

    Hopefully by now you've seen our WildAid Tiger Champion division, for our upcoming Tiger Claw's KungFuMagazine.com Championships II. I hope you can lend your support to our efforts.

    Meanwhile, here's to the ongoing efforts of Operation Tram and CITES.
    Smuggled wildlife: Traditional healers busted
    March 05 2010 at 04:35PM
    by Dave Clark

    Police in 18 countries carried out a month-long coordinated mission against smuggled plant and animal parts used in various traditional forms of medicine, Interpol and national officers said Friday.

    During the sweep, illegal products with a retail value of 10-million euros (about R102.2-million) were seized, the international law enforcement agency said.

    "National wildlife enforcement authorities, police, customs and specialised units from 18 countries across all five continents worked together as part of Operation Tram which ran from 1 to 28 February," Interpol said.

    British police targeted a business selling medicine from the Chinese tradition, but an Interpol spokeswoman told AFP the global operation was against all use of endangered species in cures from various cultures.

    For centuries, traditional Chinese healers have used tiger bone to treat arthritis, rhinoceros horn for fevers and convulsions and bear bile to treat various infections, thus encouraging poachers to hunt rare animals.

    In Rome, Italian forest rangers said they had seized 30 000 products containing wildlife worth about one million euros after checking more than 3 000 individuals, planes, baggage, and container ships.

    Arrest warrants were issued against 40 individuals or companies.

    "We noticed there is great deal of illegal traffic in Italy," the director of Interpol operations in Italy Colonel Giuseppe Verrocchi told AFP, adding that parts of tiger, bear and pangolin - an ant-eating mammal - and rare plants were seized.

    "The products were imported directly from India, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Vietnam through the ports of Mestre, Trieste and Naples and Milan airport," an Italian statement said.

    In London, the Metropolitan Police said officers had raided a Chinese traditional medicine business and found what seem to be plant species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

    "Most traditional Chinese medicines are perfectly legal. However, a small number of people continue to trade in illegal products containing endangered species," said Sergeant Ian Knox from the force's wildlife crime unit.

    "This trade threatens some of the world's most iconic species, and it will continue as long as the demand exists," he added.

    A director of the company that owns the raided properties will be questioned once the plants have been analysed, Scotland Yard said.

    The British police have been working against the use of illegal animal and plant products in traditional Chinese medicine since 1995 under its Operation Charm, and joined Interpol's Operation Tram last month.

    Police in Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, France, Georgia, India, Italy, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, South Africa, Turkey and Zimbabwe also took part in the Tram operation.

    "The important cultural, historical and religious values of traditional medicines is recognised by the law enforcement community," said senior British officer Chief Constable Richard Crompton, according to the statement.

    "However, the increased use of endangered species in medicines can no longer be tolerated as it places extreme pressure on their very survival," he warned.

    According to Interpol, Operation Tram "revealed a large amount of medicines either containing or marketing the use of illegal ingredients such as tiger, bear and rhinoceros." - Sapa-AFP
    WWF hails Interpol efforts to curb illegal wildlife trade
    Posted on 05 March 2010

    Demand for tiger body parts used in traditional Chinese medicine and habitat fragmentation from unsustainable regional infrastructure development have driven the decline of the region’s Indochinese tiger population.
    Related links

    WWF hails the efforts of a recent worldwide Interpol operation to curb the illegal trade in traditional medicines containing endangered animal and plant species.

    'Given that this crosses many borders, co-ordinating effective efforts to tackle the illegal trade in wildlife is not easy,' said WWF-UK's wildilfe trade advisor, Heather Sohl. "It's great to see 18 countries all working simultaneously to investigate and curtail the trade in traditional medicines containing threatened species. This can be a blueprint for future action on other areas of illicit wildlife trade too.'

    The bust comes as WWF is preparing to call on countries which are members of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to improve law enforcement, using intelligence-led, coordinated and cross-border approaches, to stop the illegal wildlife trade, when they meet in Doha, Qatar from 13 to 25 March.

    'Such measures will help protect some of our most valued and yet threatened species such as tigers, rhino and elephants,' Sohl said.

    Interpol conducted a month-long investigation into the illegal trade in traditional medicines containing protected wildlife products across 18 countries, according to its website. The investigationresulted in a series of arrests worldwide and the seizure of thousands of illegal medicines worth more than EUR 10 million.

    For more details about the operation, which were released today, see http://www.interpol.int/Public/ICPO/...2010/PR014.asp
    Gene Ching
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  2. #2
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    Pangolins

    457 dead pangolins seized in Guangdong, 4 suspects arrested



    Not again! Guangdong police received a report this week about 457 dead pangolins, or scaly anteaters, that were found in Shijing Town. A total of four large fridges full of pangolin bodies were seized and four suspects were arrested, according to Tencent News.



    All the dead bodies were placed in a morbid spread on the ground of a room, with the largest weighing more than 20 pounds. We hope one of these fellows wasn't among them.



    A pangolin is a rare, scale-covered mammal whose armor is believed to cure cancer and asthma, as well as other ailments, in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

    A sergeant involved in the operation revealed that they were tipped off by other citizens.

    [Images via Tencent News]

    By Christy Lau
    There was a great article in NG on pangolins recently. See The Luckiest Pangolin Alive: THE STORY OF A LITTLE PANGOLIN WHO’S MAKING A BIG DIFFERENCE by SIMON ESPLEY, 5 September, 2014
    Gene Ching
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  3. #3
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    Pangolin bust

    Thousands of smuggled pangolins confiscated in smuggling bust


    Guangdong authorities confiscate thousands of smuggled pangolins PHOTO/ Chinanews.com

    November 3, 2015

    Authorities in China’s Guangdong Province have busted a smuggling ring and confiscated 2,674 pangolins, Xinhua reported on Tuesday.

    Photos taken on September 14, show dozens of pangolins without their scales, lying on the floor inside a fishing vessel. The police were on an anti-smuggling boat patrol on the Pearl River near Yamen, when suddenly they spotted the suspicious vessel.

    414 boxes of frozen pangolins were discovered on it.



    This is China’s biggest trafficking case involving the species in recent years.

    The authorities arrested two suspects on the boat. According to Xinhua, the two received the shipment of smuggled pangolins in international waters, and were promised 10,000 yuan ($1,580) reward each, if they managed to deliver the pangolins to the predetermined destination.

    Pangolins are listed as second-class state protected species in China. But despite being officially recognized as endangered, the species is subject to smuggling, as their meat is considered a delicacy and their scales are believed to have medicinal qualities.


    PHOTO/ Chinanews.com

    Story from Xinhua and CCTV.

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    2,674 pangolins. That's a lot of pangolins.
    Gene Ching
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    The plight of the Scaly Anteater

    This species known as the Pangolin or Scaly Anteater is often overlooked in the discussions of endangered species which usually focuses on elephants, rhinos and tigers and sharks.... but this humble animal is easy prey for poachers, and their scales, known as Chuan Shan Jia, are prized for their blood-invigorating properties, treating diseases of the skin like boils and carbuncles, promoting lactation and regulating the menses. Chuan Shan Jia is salty in taste and cool in temperature, going to the Liver and Stomach. There are plenty of plant based herbs that can treat these conditions without endangering this species! However, the trade is surreptitious, and awhile back, I was contacted by someone on Faceb00k trying to sell me some. She stated emphatically that she had a "special permit" for "farmed pangolin scales" - BS!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/26549963

    13 March 2014 Last updated at 07:20
    'Shocking' scale of pangolin smuggling revealed
    By Ella Davies Reporter, BBC Nature

    Pangolin
    Attachment 9784

    Official records show that pangolins are being illegally traded on a "shocking" scale, according to a report.

    The globally threatened animals are sought for their scales which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

    Annual seizures have been estimated at roughly 10,000 animals but experts warn the illegal trade is far greater

    Chinese enforcement officials worked with researchers from the UK to assess the extent of the problem.

    Attachment 9785
    Pangolins


    Zhao-Min Zhou, from the Public Security Bureau for Forests in China's Yunnan province, worked with researchers from the University of Oxford to analyse official records of pangolins seized from smugglers.

    The findings are published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

    "The numbers of pangolins traded are shocking, and all the more so considering the pharmaceutical pointlessness of the trade. This trade is intolerably wasteful," said Prof Macdonald, director of the University of Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), and a co-author of the paper.

    He praised the leadership of Mr Zhou in the study, which gives conservationists the first glimpse of official records of seizures.

    The research team uncovered records that 2.59 tonnes of scales, representing approximately 4,870 pangolins, along with 259 intact pangolins (220 living; 39 dead) have been seized since 2010, resulting in 43 enforcement cases.

    There are eight species of pangolin, four of which are found in Asia and four of which live in Africa.

    Chinese and Sunda pangolins are listed as Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Indian and Philippine pangolins are considered Near Threatened, as are Africa's giant and white-bellied species.

    The animals roll into a ball for protection but this only makes it easier for poachers to collect and transport them unnoticed.
    Surveying the bodies of trafficked pangolins Mr Zhou examines the bodies of seized pangolins

    In traditional Chinese medicine, roasted pangolin scales are thought to detoxify and drain pus, relieve palsy, and stimulate lactation.

    Rapid economic growth in Asia has resulted in soaring demand in recent years.

    Pangolins by post


    In addition to smuggling whole animals, traffickers use the postal system to transport their contraband.

    In the report, Prof Macdonald and colleagues highlight that last November, Beijing customs officials intercepted five parcels of pangolin scales weighing 70kg each.

    They subsequently discovered a further tonne of scales had been shipped in this way since April, the equivalent of 1,660 individual animals.

    Prolific smugglers have received prison sentences from 11 years to life but with demand out-stripping supply, the trade is only becoming more lucrative.

    According to the report, pangolin scales are currently worth £360 ($600) per kilo, twice the amount they traded for in 2008.

    Attachment 9786
    Mr Zhou examines the bodies of seized pangolins

    Pangolins only give birth to one offspring per year and conservationists warn that current declines are unsustainable.

    Richard Thomas, from the wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC, described the animals as "overlooked" in comparison with the more "charismatic" targets of smugglers.

    "Poor old pangolins are a bit of a forgotten species. There's been a lot of attention to the big iconic animals: elephants, rhinos, tigers but not much attention to pangolins."

    He explained that Asian species of pangolin are protected under CITES legislation and have a "zero quota", meaning their removal from the wild for international trade is illegal.

    TRAFFIC staff in Asia are helping to train customs and postal workers to help them detect smuggling attempts and raise awareness of the animals' plight.

    "We've uncovered a disastrous situation and currently all the omens for the pangolin are bad but hopefully by drawing attention to this useless trade, international opinion may contribute to changing the situation of the pangolin," said Prof Macdonald.
    Attached Images Attached Images    

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    Global wildlife summit banned all trade of pangolins

    A ranger, poacher and investigator explain pangolin trade


    In this Friday, Sept. 23, 2016 photo, park ranger Denis Odong stands in an open area in Kidepo Valley National Park in northern Uganda. Although a global wildlife summit banned all trade of pangolins, doubts remain whether that will stop their illegal traffic in Africa fueled by growing demand from Asian consumers, particularly in China. (Helene Franchineau/Associated Press)

    By Helene Franchineau | AP October 5 at 11:12 AM
    KAMPALA, Uganda — Commercial trade in the pangolin, a scaly anteater with a distinctive coat of hard shells, is now forbidden following decisions made last week at a conservation meeting in Johannesburg.

    The pangolin is the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal, with rampant poaching driven by demand for its meat, considered a delicacy in Vietnam and some parts of China, and its scales, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

    The Associated Press spoke to a former pangolin poacher, a park ranger trying to curb poaching, and an undercover investigator about the trade.

    ___

    THE FORMER POACHER

    Michael Ojara, a 20-year-old farmer, said police arrested him in April after he caught a pangolin near his village in northwestern Uganda and tried to sell it. Ojara, whose village of Lagaji is located near Murchison Falls National Park, said he was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment.

    “I don’t want to engage in poaching anymore, because I feel that if I do again, I will get arrested,” Ojara said in an interview late last month. Ojara said he had also killed an elephant a few years ago that wandered into his village from Murchison Falls because it was ruining his crops.

    ___

    THE RANGER

    Denis Odong, 30, is a Ugandan ranger who said he has only spotted a pangolin once in his eight years on the job. Odong, who works at the Kidepo Valley National Park, bordering South Sudan, said local villagers need to be provided with incentives to preserve wildlife.

    But buyers of pangolin scales, which are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine, play a greater role, he added. “Even the Chinese themselves, they know that poaching the pangolins will endanger the species,” Odong said.

    ___

    THE UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATOR

    Rebecca T. works as an undercover investigator into the trade of pangolins for the Natural Resource Conservation Network, a Ugandan nonprofit group. The 27-year-old agreed to an interview on condition of partial anonymity because revealing her identity could undermine her investigations.

    Posing as a potential buyer, Rebecca connects with traffickers and travels across Uganda to meet them, see the products — usually live pangolins or scales — and negotiate prices. Once a deal and meeting has been set up, the group works with police to mount an operation and arrest the traffickers.

    “They have big people behind them, they are not alone,” the investigator says of the traffickers. “They use expensive dogs, sometimes guns, and if you trace these guns you find that they come from the authorities.”

    ___

    The International Women’s Media Foundation supported Franchineau in her reporting in Uganda as part of its Africa Great Lakes Initiative.

    Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
    TCM just likes pangolins because their weird looking.
    Gene Ching
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  6. #6
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    More than 3.4 tons of illegally trafficked pangolin scales

    Approximately 5,000 to 7,500 pangolins. ******.

    China Announces Its Largest-Ever Seizure Of Trafficked Pangolin Scales
    December 28, 20168:06 AM ET
    CAMILA DOMONOSKE


    An undated photo, released Wednesday, shows Shanghai customs officers checking pangolin scales at a port in Shanghai. Chinese customs seized over three tonnes of pangolin scales, state media said, in the country's biggest-ever smuggling case involving the animal parts.
    STR/AFP/Getty Images

    Chinese officials have seized 3.1 tonnes (more than 3.4 tons) of illegally trafficked pangolin scales from a port in Shanghai, according to state media.

    It's the largest such seizure China has ever made, Xinhua News Agency reports.

    Pangolins are the world's most widely trafficked mammals — their meat is a delicacy and their scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

    All eight species of pangolin are facing extinction.

    "The pangolin is about the size of a raccoon and looks like an artichoke with legs," NPR's Jackie Northam wrote last year. "Its head and body are covered with an armor of t***** scales, giving it the appearance of a reptile. When a pangolin is scared, it curls up into a tight ball."

    This fall, commercial trade of the pangolin was "officially banned by the international body responsible for regulating the international trade of endangered species," as NPR's Rebecca Hersher reported.

    Pangolins are now covered by "the strictest protections available under international law," she writes.


    A game reserve guide in Zimbabwe holds a female pangolin at Wild Is Life animal sanctuary outside Harare on Sept. 22. Pangolins are the world's most heavily trafficked mammal; demand for pangolin meat and body parts is driving the secretive scaly ant-eating mammals to near extinction.
    Jekesai Njikizana/AFP/Getty Images

    Rebecca continued:

    "In a statement following news of the international commercial ban, Elly Pepper, the deputy director of the Natural Resource Defense Council's wildlife trade initiative, wrote that the trade ban would 'give the world's most-trafficked mammal a fighting chance at survival.' "
    The pangolin scales seized in Shanghai were mixed in with wood products shipped from Nigeria, Phys.org reports, citing state broadcaster CCTV.

    The illicit animal parts were discovered on Dec. 10, the South China Morning Post reports, and authorities accuse the suspects of smuggling pangolin scales from Africa to China since 2015.

    Approximately 5,000 to 7,500 pangolins must have been killed to produce the more than 3 tons of pangolin scales, Xinhua reports.

    Based on reported black-market prices for the scales, the seized scales would have been worth more than $2 million, Phys.org says.

    "The scales are nothing more than keratin, the same substance that makes up fingernails," the science news service writes. "Yet it has been falsely touted as a cure for multiple ailments, including cancer, among some practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine."
    Gene Ching
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    Angelababy & pangolins

    It's AngelAbaby, not Angelbaby (as an editor, I feel the pain of a misspelled headline, and maybe just a shade of schadenfreude )

    Good ol' WildAid. This is why we support them.

    Angelbaby teams up with WildAid and Wunderman Shanghai to save Endangered Pangolins
    It is estimated that over 1 million pangolins have been killed and illegally trafficked in the last decade to supply rising demand for their meat and scales in China and east Asia.

    By Staff - Jan 12, 2017



    WildAid, an environmental organization that focuses on reducing the demand for wildlife products, together with Wunderman Shanghai have just launched a China-based integrated activation campaign aimed at raising public awareness of the plight of pangolins, the world’s most trafficked and least understood wild mammal.

    It is estimated that over 1 million pangolins have been killed and illegally trafficked in the last decade to supply rising demand for their meat and scales in China and east Asia.
    WildAid has enlisted celebrity spokesperson, Angelababy, to serve as the organization’s ambassador and have recently launched a campaign with her to promote awareness of the plight of these endangered pangolins.


    The might pangolin

    This phase of the campaign, created by Wunderman Shanghai, includes metro and airport advertising in major Chinese cities and an interactive WeChat platform that encourages conservation awareness of these gentle creatures through an interactive game.

    The interactive game involves players going on a search for pangolins in a forest. Once they are able to spot and catch a pangolin, they are given a choice of what to do with their catch: sell, cook or bring home. All responses receive a personal reply from Angelababy encouraging them to stop the killing of these defenseless creatures, delivering the message of “when the buying stops, the killing can too.” Users are then prompted to spread the word of protecting pangolins on social media.



    “We found that even with a superstar power like Angelababy, Chinese consumers are more likely to want a digital interactive platform that engages them in the message,” said Bryce Whitwam, CEO of Wunderman China.

    Pangolins, the only known mammal with scales and are found in China as well as southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. These shy and harmless nocturnal mammals are the most heavily trafficked and poached for their meat and scales, believed in traditional Chinese medicine to cure rheumatism, asthma and other diseases.


    Chinese-born Hong Kong model, actress, and singer, Yang Ying, better known as Angelababy.

    All 8 global pangolin species were recently uplisted at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to appendix 1 status, meaning international trade in pangolins will be banned. But more awareness is still needed to further reduce demand for their products.

    WildAid’s acting chief representative in China Steve Blake says “this partnership between WildAid and Wunderman gives us an exciting new way to deliver the message of protecting pangolins. Campaigns like these have already proven to decrease demand for wildlife products, and we believe it is only a matter of time before we can start seeing this for pangolins.”
    Gene Ching
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    More pangolin problems

    THAILAND SEIZES RECORD HAUL OF PANGOLIN SCALES INTENDED FOR TRAFFICKING
    BY JACK MOORE ON 2/2/17 AT 1:12 PM

    THAILAND
    Thai authorities revealed almost 3 tonnes of pangolin scales Thursday, in what they said was a record haul of the trafficked animal part.

    The scales, made out of keratin, the same protein that fingernails consist of, were shipped from the Congo, through Turkey, before authorities seized two air cargo deliveries at Bangkok’s Suvarmabhumi Airport.

    The hauls, worth more than $800,000, were intended to reach Laos. Poachers would have killed some 6,000 pangolins to create that amount of scales, according to customs chief Kulit Sombatsiri, Reuters reported.


    A vet from Save Vietnam Wildlife (SVW), holds an injured pangolin, as part of its Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program in Cuc Phuong National Park in the northern province of Ninh Binh, October 22, 2016. Thai authorities seized a record 3 tonne haul of pangolin scales, they said Thursday.
    HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/GETTY

    “This is the biggest lot (of pangolin scales) that we have seized,” Police Major General Worapong Thongpaiboon, acting commander of Thailand’s Natural Resources and Environment Crime Division, told AFP news agency. Thai police showed the haul, packed into white bags, to journalists at Bangkok airport.

    Pangolins, shy in their nature, are the world’s most-trafficked mammal. Demand for their scales has risen because of the belief in some Asian countries, Vietnam and China for example, that they have medicinal benefits.

    They are viewed as a delicacy in the region and pangolin fetus soup is believed to improve male fertility. As with other exotic animal parts, such as elephant tusks, they are mostly garnered in Africa and sold in Asia.

    The harmless animals have sticky tongues that allow them to eat ants and termites. The animal recedes into a ball when it feels threatened.

    The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the global body that sets wildlife trade legislation, banned the global trade of eight species of pangolins in January. The animal is critically endangered, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
    Why is it that any creature that is unusual and unique is believed to help with male virility?
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  9. #9
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    More pangolin news

    I'm going to copy out all the pangolin items to their own indie thread off the Endangered Species in TCM thread.

    ‘In love with the taste of wildlife’ – probe launched after officials hold 'endangered pangolin feast' in China


    Pangolin's carry their offsprings on their tails CREDIT: AP

    Neil Connor, beijing
    7 FEBRUARY 2017 • 12:21PM

    China has ordered an investigation after online images showed local officials holding a lavish banquet of meat of endangered pangolin, the most trafficked animal on earth.

    The meat of the elusive creature - which is often likened to a tiny dinosaur – is seen as a delicacy by some in China, and feasts are considered an extravagant show of hospitality.

    But Beijing banned the trade in pangolins more than ten years ago, amid fears that the insect-eating animal was being hunted to extinction.

    The alleged feast in the southern province of Guangxi became a hot topic on the Chinese Internet this week after an online post went viral from a businessman who was present.

    “This is the first time I have eaten it (pangolin), and it tasted great,” said the comment, which was posted alongside images of cooked meat and bones.


    'Pangolin meat' CREDIT: WEIBO/GLOBAL TIMES

    “I have fell deeply in love with the taste of wildlife,” added the post, which was reputedly made by a businessman from Hong Kong who was describing a trade trip to Guangxi.

    Pangolin smugglers in China can be served with prison sentences of ten years.

    But there is huge demand for the nocturnal creature as its scales are highly-prized in Chinese traditional medicine as an ingredient which some believe can improve blood circulation.

    Scales can sell for up to £2,000 on the black market, while a pangolin dish at Chinese restaurants would be expected to cost hundreds of pounds.



    Thai customs officials arrange African pangolin scales at the Customs Department headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, after they seized their biggest haul ever of African pangolin scales CREDIT: SAKCHAI LALIT/AP PHOTO

    Animal protection campaigners believe up to 90,000 dead and alive pangolins have been seized by customs officials over the last ten years in China and Hong Kong.

    Heather Sohl, chief adviser of wildlife, at WWF-UK, said: “Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world and this is having a devastating impact on populations across Africa and Asia.”

    The pangolin banquet, which was reported to have taken place in July 2015, had “violated Chinese law”, said Keith Guo, regional spokesman for Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

    “In China, some people still believe the meat of wildlife can improve health, and this has no scientific basis,” he added.


    A Malayan pangolin is seen out of its cage after being confiscated by the Department of Wildlife and Natural Parks in Kuala Lumpur CREDIT: JIMIN LAI/ AFP/GETTY IMAGES

    Comments on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, expressed outrage towards officials, who are often critisised for their extravagant lifestyles.

    Beijing ordered provincial authorities to investigate the alleged feast, news site thepaper.cn said. Local authorities did not respond to a request from The Telegraph for comment

    “So officials entertain themselves by eating endangered wildlife,” said one post. “No wonder I am concerned about the future of the country.”

    Additional reporting by Christine Wei
    Gene Ching
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  10. #10
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    Glad to see this is causing a stir

    Chinese Officials Investigated For Allegedly Serving Endangered Pangolin At Banquet
    The world’s most trafficked mammal is protected in China. Eating pangolin carries a penalty of up to 10 years behind bars.
    02/10/2017 10:04 am ET
    Dominique Mosbergen
    Reporter, The Huffington Post

    Chinese authorities have launched an investigation into whether government officials dined on pangolin, the world’s most trafficked mammal, at a banquet in Guangxi province in 2015.

    The investigation was prompted by a resurgence of social media interest in a series of photographs of the meal, first published in 2015. The photos were posted by Weibo user Ah_cal, who claimed the banquet had been hosted by Chinese government officials. One of the dishes shown was a pot of meat, which Ah_cal described as “cooked pangolin.”

    The pangolin meat was “delicious,” the Weibo user wrote in a caption, noting that the mammal was a particular culinary favorite of one of the officials hosting the event.

    View image on Twitter

    Follow
    WildAid ✔ @WildAid
    Chinese officials being probed for serving #pangolin at a banquet @sphasiaone #extinctioncrisis https://shar.es/19W909
    9:55 AM - 8 Feb 2017
    33 33 Retweets 15 15 likes
    Chinese news outlets have identified the Weibo user as a Hong Kong businessman. He has since deleted the photographs.

    “These days the quality that stands out most in our officials is wickedness,” said one Weibo user, according to Agency-France Presse.

    Chinese forestry officials said on Wednesday that they’d launched an investigation into the incident.

    Government officials from the Guangxi Investment Promotion Bureau have been fingered as the possible hosts of the banquet, reports Chinese news agency Xinhua. The bureau, however, has denied any involvement.

    “We have diligently identified the diners in the photographs, and none of them belong to Guangxi Investment Promotion Bureau’s leadership or staff,” a spokesperson told newspaper Chengdu Shangbao.

    A regional disciplinary commission has supported this claim. The commission told Xinhua that the bureau had indeed hosted an investment tour for Hong Kong entrepreneurs in July 2015, but the banquet — which it described as a “private” event — had happened after the tour and involved a few “individual members of the group.”

    A government official was at the banquet, the commission said, but it was a man named Li Ning, a former official with the regional work committee of higher education. Li was arrested in May 2016 on suspicion of corruption, Xinhua reports.


    GETTY IMAGES
    This pangolin was released into the wild after being seized from the illegal trade in Sibolangit, North Sumatra, Indonesia on April 27, 2015.

    All eight species of pangolin are vulnerable to extinction. Some species, including the Chinese pangolin and Sunda pangolin, are critically endangered.

    The primary threat facing pangolins is poaching. At least 10,000 pangolins are killed every year, both for their scales and their meat. Pangolin scales are highly-prized in Chinese traditional medicine (they are made of keratin, the same material as human fingernails, and have no medicinal value) and their meat is considered a delicacy in some parts of Asia.


    PAUL HILTON/WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
    Photographer Paul Hilton captured this photograph last year of thousands of frozen pangolins that had been seized from a seafood trading company in Indonesia. This photograph won first prize in the single image category at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards in October.

    In September, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, banned the international trade of pangolins and their parts. A few months later, Chinese authorities announced the largest ever seizure of trafficked pangolin scales in the country. More than three tons had arrived in a Shanghai port from Nigeria. Approximately 5,000 to 7,500 pangolins were estimated to have been killed for that shipment.

    In China, the pangolin is a protected animal. Eating its meat is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to the AFP.
    I used to think pangolins were hideous, but now they are growing on me. Now they seem kinda cute.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  11. #11
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    pangolin princess

    'Princess' is way to flattering a term. I was thinking something like pangolin ***** ****.

    'Pangolin Princess' detained in China after posting images online of cooked wildlife


    A man holds a pangolin at a wild animal rescue center in Cuc Phuong, outside Hanoi, Vietnam CREDIT: KHAM/REUTERS

    Neil Connor, beijing
    14 FEBRUARY 2017 • 2:00PM

    A woman who was nicknamed “Pangolin Princess” in China after she posted online images of various cooked wildlife that she had eaten has been held by police, authorities said on Tuesday.

    Among the dishes posted by the woman, who was named Ms Lin by authorities, was a soup made up of meat from eight different animals, including “pangolin, snake and swan”.

    Another photo showed a dish which was described by Ms Lin – who could face ten years in prison under Chinese law - as “pangolin-blood fried rice”, along with images of live caged owls and pangolin.


    'Pangolin Princess' Ms Lin CREDIT: SOUTHERN METROPOLIS DAILY/WEIBO

    The rice dish was described as “very special” in her posts, according to the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper.

    A soup of pangolin and caterpillar fungus – an expensive and highly sought after ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine – was “very delicious”, Ms Lin was reported to have said.

    She was detained by police in her home town of Shenzhen, in China’s south, the city’s Urban Management Bureau said in a post on its verified social media account on Tuesday.

    “The forestry sub-branch of Shenzhen Police will harshly crack down against and investigate thoroughly any criminal and law-breaking behaviour relating to wildlife,” the bureau added.


    'Pangolin-blood fried rice' CREDIT: SOUTHERN METROPOLIS DAILY/WEIBO

    The social media postings, which were made in 2011 and 2012, were recently deleted after web-users shared them widely, branding the poster “Pangolin Princess”.

    They were highlighted on the Chinese Internet after an investigation was launched last week into a lavish banquet of pangolin meat that was allegedly held by officials in Guizhou province, which is also in China’s south.


    'Eight animal soup'

    The meat of the nocturnal creature is seen as a delicacy by some in China, but Beijing banned the trade in pangolins more than ten years ago, amid fears that the insect-eating animal was being hunted to extinction. Swans are also protected in China.

    Google has been raising awareness to the pangolin, the world's most trafficked animal, with its latest doodle.

    Additional reporting by Christine Wei
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  12. #12
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    Last Saturday was WORLD PANGOLIN DAY

    I've been wondering why this topic has been trending so much lately.

    The endangered pangolin has found an unlikely ally: the same country driving it to extinction


    A rescued pangolin stands still while being shown at a news conference in Bangkok, Thailand Saturday, May 26, 2012. The Thai custom on Friday have rescued 138 endangered pangolins worth about $46,000 that they say were to be sold and eaten outside the country. The animals hidden in a pickup truck were seized at a custom check point in Chumporn province, south of Bangkok Friday, according to the officials.
    Grappling with the scale. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

    WRITTEN BY Echo Huang
    OBSESSION

    China's Transition
    February 17, 2017

    The pangolin, a quirky animal that looks a bit like a pinecone come to life, has been driven to near-extinction thanks to insatiable Chinese demand for its meat and scales. The latter are especially prized in traditional medicine, based on bogus claims about their health benefits. But now the pangolin appears to have gained an unlikely guardian: Beijing.
    This month Chinese authorities and state media—no doubt aware of World Pangolin Day on Feb. 18—have stepped up efforts to discourage people from eating the animal and persuade them that its parts have no medicinal value.
    On Feb. 8, police launched an investigation into a 2015 banquet in Nanning, the capital of the Guangxi region, in which local officials served pangolin meat to Hong Kong investors. Bordering Vietnam, the region is known for pangolin smuggling.

    View image on Twitter

    Follow
    Chris Buckley 储百亮 ✔ @ChuBailiang
    Guangxi police catch a smuggler who somehow crammed 39 pangolins in his car: http://goo.gl/g50ZDM
    3:20 AM - 24 Jan 2014
    10 10 Retweets 3 3 likes
    A post by the US nonprofit WildAid on Weibo, a social media platform in China, shows scenes from the dinner.

    View image on Twitter

    Follow
    WildAid ✔ @WildAid
    Chinese officials being probed for serving #pangolin at a banquet @sphasiaone #extinctioncrisis https://shar.es/19W909
    9:55 AM - 8 Feb 2017
    34 34 Retweets 16 16 likes
    On Feb. 14, authorities in neighboring Guangdong province apprehended a Weibo user after seeing a 2011 post where she bragged about the “special” taste of fried rice with the animal’s blood and the “richness” of pangolin soup. Meanwhile media reports have reminded readers that fines and jail terms of more than 10 years could await those found guilty of catching, killing, buying, or selling the state-protected animal.
    The People’s Daily created about a dozen Weibo posts condemning incidents like the above and stressing that the animal’s parts have no medicinal use. Another newspaper, Zhongyang Guancha, noted in a Feb. 17 editorial (link in Chinese) that “the effectiveness of pangolin scales was actually denied by many traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. In fact, a dozen scales were not as effective as green bean soup, and pangolin meat was not as rich as beef or lamb.”
    China’s insatiable demand has made the pangolin the world’s most trafficked mammal, and spurred relentless hunting for it in India, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Just three months after an international trade ban on the species, authorities in Shanghai seized a massive haul of pangolin scales weighing 3.1 metric tons (3.4 tons) and valued at more than $2 million on the black market.
    With incentives like that, the pangolin needs all the help it can get.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  13. #13
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    Kung Fu Pangolin

    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
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  14. #14
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    progress

    Good work, Zhang Jie!

    Chinese textbook removes endangered pangolin from 'medicine' category
    1 2018-07-17 16:09:51CGTN Editor : Gu Liping

    A lawyer in south China’s Guangdong Province was recently astonished to find the pangolin, a national protected animal, being defined as a medicinal ingredient in a sixth grade science textbook.

    In the chart, animals were categorized according to their relationship to humans under one of three options: “cloth,” “food,” or “medicine.” The pangolin was listed in the medicine category as an ingredient used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), alongside the deer. The chart can be seen in the biodiversity unit on page 139 of the “Science” book designed for sixth grade students at local primary schools.

    The book did not include any relevant content about conservation or animal protection.

    “How could children treat the pangolin nicely when they grow older after receiving such education?” asked the lawyer Zhang Jie. “The answer can’t be more obvious.” He also cited the fact that about 1,000,000 pangolins were smuggled into China during the past decade due to the traditional belief that the pangolin has pharmaceutical value – a belief that’s especially common in Guangdong Province.

    “The mistake must be righted”, Zhang said.

    Zhang noticed the problem three months ago in April. After reporting it to the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, he co-issued a lawyer’s letter with the NGO to the book’s distributor in June, urging the institute to revise its content in two months before releasing it in the coming autumn semester.

    “The textbook ‘Science’ has posed irreversible loss to the nation’s wild animal protections. Its content would have resulted in the inaccurate and life-long world-views to the young adults in thinking the pangolin as an edible ingredient,” read the lawyer’s letter.

    In response, the publisher, Educational Science Publishing House, officially replied to the letter on July 10 after it was noticed by the book’s distributor who said it was “improper to refer [to] a national protected animal as a pharmaceutical component.” According to the announcement, “the company has revised the relevant content immediately after verification and promised it will not appear ever again in the newest edition.”

    The announcement was reaffirmed in a July 13 report by local media outlet Southcn, where the publisher said it had revised the chart in the textbook and reference book used by teachers in the latest edition.

    “The content [is] intended to highlight the friendship between animals and humans, and let children picture the ‘construction of mutualistic symbioses.’ However, the author’s description of the pangolins was definitely indiscrete and devious to the original intention,” a staff at the publishing house told the Southcn.

    The pangolin has been recognized as a Second Class national protected animal since 1988 in China. Selling or killing pangolins in wild have been banned in the country. China stepped up its enforcement in the new wild animal protection law, which was put into practice at the beginning of 2017, ruling that people who eat the animal would also be in violation of the law.
    Gene Ching
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  15. #15
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    WaPo spotlight

    There's some nice short vids behind the link.

    China’s push to export traditional medicine may doom the magical pangolin
    By Simon Denyer
    July 21

    In a rescue center, the pangolin slowly wakes and uncurls, sniffing out a nighttime feast of ants’ eggs, then lapping it up with its implausibly long tongue. One of 74 pangolins rescued from the back of a truck in Vietnam in April, its survival has defied the odds.

    This almost mystical creature, looking like a cross between an anteater and an armadillo but unrelated to either, is the world’s most trafficked mammal: A million of them are thought to have been poached from the wild in just a decade.

    Already almost wiped out in China, the pangolin is fast disappearing from the jungles of the rest of Asia and, increasingly, from Africa to supply China’s booming market in traditional medicine.

    Now, as China pushes to export traditional medicine around the world under the umbrella of its Belt and Road investment plan, many wildlife experts fear that the animal faces extinction — unless something changes very soon.

    “Traditional Chinese medicine should be a healing force for good, but not at the expense of animal cruelty or the extinction of species,” said Iris Ho, wildlife program manager at Humane Society International.

    China’s decision to ban the ivory trade at the end of last year gave hope to those battling elephant poaching, “but the real litmus test lies within China’s action — or lack of action — in pangolin conservation,” Ho said.

    The air of mystery attaching to the reclusive pangolin has been its downfall, sparking an unjustified belief that its scales have magical medicinal properties. In hospitals and pharmacies across China and Vietnam, powder made from pangolin scales is prescribed for an impossibly wide range of ailments, including rheumatism, wound infections, skin disorders, coronary heart disease and even cancer.

    Mothers take powdered pangolin scales to help them lactate, while men drink pangolin blood or consume fetuses in the belief that this will make them more virile.


    A woman shops on a Hong Kong street popular for dried foods used in traditional Chinese medicine and dishes including deep-fried scales of endangered pangolins. (Dale de La Rey/AFP/Getty Images)

    The use of pangolins in Chinese medicine dates back thousands of years. A 16th-century document recommends eating their scales to reduce swelling, invigorate blood circulation and promote lactation. A 1938 article in Nature suggests they were used to treat malaria, deafness, “hysterical crying” in children and women possessed by “devils and ogres.”

    In fact, the scales are made of keratin, a fibrous protein that is the main ingredient of hair, feathers, claws and hoofs throughout the animal kingdom; patients might as well chew their own fingernails.

    Pangolins are also served at the dinner table, despite a ban on pangolin meat in China imposed during the 2002-2004 SARS epidemic amid fears that exotic meats could spread disease.

    The pangolin is the world’s most trafficked mammal: A million of them are thought to have been poached from the wild in just a decade. (Paul Hilton for WildAid)

    In late 2016, all eight species of pangolin were listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), making all international trade in them illegal. But that does not obligate China or Vietnam to curb domestic trade — except to the extent that such trade now relies mostly on sources abroad.

    Customs officials make regular seizures at China’s ports, but the very size of those captures makes depressing reading: In the southern city of Shenzhen, 13 tons of scales were seized in November alone, representing tens of thousands of slaughtered pangolins.

    Nocturnal and solitary, the pangolin has an effective defense against most predators — even lions can’t work out what to do when the animal rolls up into an armored ball. Its English name comes from the Malay word “pengguling,” which means rolling ball; its Chinese name, chuanshanjia, refers to its supposed ability to “bore through mountains,” a reference to the powerful claws that dig into anthills and termite mounds before that sticky tongue gets to work.

    Pangolin mothers carry their young on their backs for the first three months and curl up around the babies if attacked until the young ones’ scales are sufficiently hard.

    But the sensitive pangolin adapts poorly to captivity, almost always dying in a few months or years because of stress, disease or digestive problems without reproducing. Secretive pangolin “farms” in China are basically fronts for trafficking operations, experts say.

    Conservation groups are trying to reduce demand by educating people about the dangers facing the pangolin and better ways to treat human disease than by consuming animal keratin.


    A veterinarian with Save Vietnam’s Wildlife holds an injured pangolin. The false belief that pangolin scales and other parts have magical medicinal properties has fueled a trade that threatens the creature’s survival. (Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images)

    The China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation, a nonprofit group, has publicly exposed people selling or consuming pangolin meat, including a Chinese businessman who boasted online of enjoying “pangolin blood fried rice” on a trip to Vietnam. After a backlash on social media, he was sacked.

    WildAid, whose use of Chinese celebrities to curb demand for ivory and shark fin soup has achieved considerable success, is trying the same approach for pangolins, enlisting the actors Jackie Chan and Angelababy in China and former Miss Universe Pham Huong in Vietnam to front publicity campaigns. It is also trying to persuade traditional-medicine practitioners to use alternative treatments.

    Almost wiped out in China, the pangolin is disappearing from the jungles of Asia and also from Africa, to supply China’s traditional medicine boom. (Paul Hilton for WildAid)

    Peter Knights, WildAid’s founder, argues that traditional Chinese medicine needs to stop using endangered wildlife products if it wants to become more accepted globally.

    “If you want to expand it, you’ve got to clean it up,” he says, citing as precedents the removal of tiger bone and rhinoceros horn from China’s list of approved medicinal ingredients.

    But surveys by the Aita Foundation and Humane Society International and by the U.S. Agency for International Development Wildlife Asia project suggest that the message is not yet getting through to the small but significant percentage of Chinese who still consume pangolin products.

    Changing minds will not be easy as long as China’s government promotes the “medicinal” use of pangolin scales. Authorities claim to have a stockpile from which they supply hospitals and pharmacies with 26 tons of scales every year but offer no transparency about that process, effectively legitimizing the entire smuggling trade.

    China also sparked controversy at a recent CITES meeting by arguing that it should have the right to purchase stockpiles of scales from other countries that were amassed before the Appendix I listing, an interpretation of the convention’s rules not shared by the United States or many other nations.

    Meanwhile, on Vietnam’s border with China, powerful criminal gangs control the trafficking of people, drugs and wildlife products, bribing officials to turn a blind eye.

    Scott Roberton of the Wildlife Conservation Society in Vietnam says it is hard to convince Asian governments of the importance of saving pangolins, as compared to elephants, rhinos and tigers. He hopes to gain traction by stressing how pangolin trafficking is caught up with other forms of transnational crime and by highlighting the public-health risks of the trade.

    But the odds are steep. China’s traditional-medicine authorities have unveiled an ambitious plan to expand along the Belt and Road trade routes, with 57 international cooperation projects due to get underway this year.

    And reports of Chinese companies’ trying to open pangolin “farms” in Africa, and of scales being prescribed by Chinese doctors in places as far-flung as South Africa and the United States, have intensified conservationists’ fears.

    Nguyen Van Thai, who founded Save Vietnam’s Wildlife and runs the rescue center in Cuc Phuong National Park, says there is still no good strategy for curbing demand for scales or convincing the Chinese government that its support for the pangolin trade could damage its global reputation.

    “China wants to show its power,” he said. “The more pressure you put on them, the more they resist.”

    Liu Yang in Beijing contributed to this report.
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