Pangolins are the world’s most heavily-trafficked wild mammals

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are reclusive and nocturnal animals that roll up into a ball when threatened. They are seldom seen in the wild, and are very hard to raise in captivity. Yet, pangolins have become the most heavily trafficked wild mammal in the world. An estimated 100,000 are taken from the wild every year across Africa and Asia. Their meat is considered a delicacy by some in China and Vietnam, while their scales and fetuses are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat a range of ailments from arthritis to cancer. Pangolins are also used in traditional African bush medicine.

  • 100,000+
    Each year, more than 100,000 pangolins are poached from the wild.
  • 150+
    WildAid and our partners have trained more than 150 law enforcement specialists to interdict pangolin shipments.
  • 8
    There are 8 species of pangolins, 4 are found in Africa and 4 in Asia, all are under threat and all are now protected from international trade.

Making an impact

In early 2017, all eight pangolin species gained full protection from cross-border commercial trade under international law. WildAid is working closely with the governments of China and Vietnam to implement this new restriction. With the help of legendary ambassadors like Jackie Chan and China’s Angelababy, our program aims to raise awareness of the pangolin poaching crisis and to reduce demand for pangolin scales and meat in China and Vietnam. A 2015 WildAid survey found that 70% of respondents in China believe that pangolin scales have medicinal value.

In China, we’ve trained more than 300 customs and anti-smuggling police officers to quickly identify illegal pangolin products. With Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, we trained 56 Vietnamese rangers, environmental police and customs officers on the illegal trade, necessary law enforcement action, and on how to handle confiscated pangolins.