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Pangolin, which most closely resembles an anteater with scales, is one of the most poached animals in the world and in Asia the stocks have shrunk by 80 percent in ten years. But now China has decided to give the pangolin the same high protection status as the panda.
It is thus no longer allowed to hunt or sell Pangolins for meat or scales that are otherwise used in traditional Chinese medicine.
China will also enhance the monitoring and control of areas where the pangolin is to stop the poaching. Last year alone, 195,000 pangolins were sold illegally, but hopefully that figure will now be much smaller.
Several animal welfare organizations are very pleased with China's decision.
“This is the single greatest measure that could be taken to save the pangolins,” says Peter Knights, CEO of the environmental nonprofit WildAid, an organization that focuses on reducing demand for wildlife products. “This sends a clear message that there are alternatives in traditional Chinese medicine and so you don’t need to use pangolins,” he says.