Poor pangolin breeding spelling doom to the species

An international wildlife organisation has warned that trafficking of pangolins is still on the rise.

The organisation named TRAFFIC, which led celebrations during the World Pangolin Day last week, said the animal's meat and scales were increasingly traded in Africa and Asia.

The wildlife group said between 2009 and 2017, nearly 6,000 pangolins were traded in India. This means at least 650 of the animals were trafficked each year.

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“We want to see a world where wildlife trade is well managed, contributes to development and helps motivate commitment to conserve wild species and habitats,” Steven Broad, TRAFFIC Executive Director said.

Medicinal value

Pangolins are nocturnal mammals known for their hard scales. They are also popular for their long, sticky tongues that they use to trap and eat ants and termites.

They are heavily trafficked for their scales.

Their meat and scales are said to have medicinal value and are a common ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine.

A kilo of pangolin scales fetches up to Sh60,000 in the black market. They are classified as the most illegally trafficked animals in the world, surpassing rhinos and elephants.

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According to a December 2017 report by TRAFFIC, Kenya is a major hub for pangolin trafficking.

“Pangolins are currently the most heavily trafficked wild mammals in the world. Their meat is considered a delicacy, and has been attributed to have a medicinal value. Their scales are used in traditional medicines, and pangolin skins are processed into leather products,” the report reads.

Researchers have also raised concern that there is need to regulate the legal trade in pangolins and increase efforts to breed them so as to increase their population.

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