Business Standard

Sindh: Pangolins on verge of extinction owing to surging Chinese demand


ANI Asia
The rising demand for Pangolin meat among Chinese nationals living in Karachi, consolidated by illegal trade flourishing along new routes to China, have brought this endangered species on the verge of extinction in Pakistan's Sindh province.
Pangolins are often referred to as the world's most trafficked mammal. Recent interviews conducted with over 140 hunters by researchers from World Animal Protection and the University of Oxford revealed that pangolins were largely targeted for their scales that are sold for a premium, with hunters earning the equivalent of their four months' salary for a single pangolin.
The hunters from these communities were clearly unaware of the part they were playing in international trafficking. Yet, the traders that sell the animal products across the borders in black markets go on to make huge profits, according to an article published in The Third Pole.
Pangolin scales are made of keratin - the material found in human fingernails and hair - and they have no proven medicinal value. Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in some countries, and the scales are used as decorations for rituals and jewellery. They are considered to be at high risk of extinction, primarily as a result of illegal poaching.
While meat and skin remain key reasons for rising pangolin demand, the mammal is sometimes killed simply because it looks vulnerable, Ghulam Sarwar Jamali, a former official of the Sindh Wildlife Department, told the website.
Jamali said given the unusual shape and scaly skin of the mammal, people tend to be afraid of it. "It is harmless for the people, but they think it will attack them," he said.
A large number of Chinese nationals stay in Karachi and are employed in projects related to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Authorities say that the demand for Pangolin meat is high among them. However, the allegation has never been formally investigated or proven.
Although it is well documented that pangolins are being hunted and trafficked, the immense suffering and cruelty that these animals endure when hunted have remained relatively overlooked, until now.

Disclaimer: No Business Standard Journalist was involved in creation of this content

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: May 29 2019 | 5:20 PM IST

Explore News