"Once widespread, the shy and defenseless anteater is being vacuumed up for sale largely in China, where many believe it can cure an array of ailments and boost sexual prowess." writes Denis D. Gray of the Associated Press. "The last stand of the four Asian species has shrunk to Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia, Palawan in the southern Philippines and parts of Malaysia and India."
"Ground into powder, pangolin scales are believed to cure rheumatism and skin diseases, reduce swellings, promote lactation for breast-feeding mothers and alleviate other medical problems," writes Gray, though of course there is no scientific evidence to back up such claims. They are even used as ingredient in hard liquor.
"Captured pangolins are frequently drowned by people who don't care that, as mammals, their central nervous systems register every iota of fear and pain," writes Lynn Hamilton on Care2. "Because they offer so little resistance, these harmless anteaters have been hunted to the brink of extinction," she writes, adding that the gentle creature is "one of the most tortured and abused animals in the world."
"We are watching a species just slip away," said Chris Shepard, who has tracked wildlife trafficking in Asia for two decades. He says a 100-fold increase is needed in efforts to save the pangolin, which provides a valuable ecosystem service: They are natural pest controllers, as they feed on ants and termites.
The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) added the pangolin to the list of genetically distinct and endangered mammals in November 2010.
"Everything is against them," Shepard said. "They have no teeth. Their only defense is to roll up in a ball that fits perfectly into a bag…Under stress, pangolins can develop stomach ulcers and die."
Although national laws and international treaties such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) are in place to protect the pangolin, they have had little effect on the black market pangolin trade, due to lack of enforcement and strong demand in China for what Gray describes as "a seemingly insatiable demand for...dubious medical remedies, tonics and aphrodisiacs."
- Sign a Care2 petition urging Chinese authorities to crack down on illegal imports of pangolins
- Join over 785,000 people who have signed an Avaaz petition urging EU leaders to push CITES to suspend trade in all rhino products
- Join Stella McCartney and sign the PETA pledge to be leather-free
- Sign a Born Free Foundation petition to increase the protection of elephants from the bloody ivory trade
- Sign a Griddix petition urging U.S. President Barack Obama and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso to officialy ask to the Chinese government to stop the brutal practice of eating dog meat and to immediately end the terrible tortures to which dogs are subjected in China
- Sign a Change.org petition urging Nestle Purina to recall chicken jerky treats made in China
- Sign a Care2 petition urging Chinese president Hu Jintao to stop killing endangered species
- Sign a Change.org petition to stop the sale of "living keychains"
- Sign a Care2 petition asking the Chinese government to ban shark finning
- Sign PETA's Pledge to Be Fur-Free
- Sign a ForceChange petition to protect threatened populations of Asian musk deer
- Sign a Care for Chinese Animals petition to ban dog and cat meat in China
- Join Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Bono, Ricky Gervais, Roger Moore, Susan Sarandon, Anjelica Huston, Jeremy Irons, Paula Abdul, Joan Jett, Annie Lennox, Elton John and thousands of others who have signed the TigerTime petition urging Chinese premier Wen Jiabao to call for an end to all tiger trade in China
- Sign a Change.org petition to close China's bear bile farms
- Sign the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare (UDAW)
- Follow 13.7 Billion Years on Twitter
- Reason #1: China Tortures and Kills Bears
- Reason #2: China Kills Endangered Tigers
- Reason #3: China Slaughters Dogs Inhumanely, Eats Them
- Reason #4: China Is Pushing Musk Deer to Extinction
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- Reason #7: China Is Pushing Seahorse to Extinction
- Reason #8: China Sells Live Animals in Sealed Plastic Keychains
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- Reason #10: China Sells Toxic Treats That Kill Dogs
- Reason #11: China Clubbed 50,000 Dogs to Death
- Reason #12: China Supports Slaughter of Elephants for Ivory
- Reason #13: China Abuses Cows and Baby Calves
- Reason #14: China Is Pushing Endangered Rhino to Extinction
- Reason #15: China Is Pushing Endangered Pangolin to Extinction
- Reason #16: China Massacred Tens of Thousands of Cats for Olympics
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- Reason #21: China Allows Horse Fighting
- Reason #22: China Drowns Baby Mice to Make a Health Tonic
- Reason #23: For Countless Animals, China Is Hell on Earth
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