400,000 African pangolins are hunted for meat every year—why it's time to act

phys.org | 2/14/2019 | Staff
Sugar12 (Posted by) Level 4
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Pangolins, a group of unique African and Asian scaly mammals, are considered to be one of the most heavily trafficked wild mammals in the world. They are hunted and traded for their meat, scales, and other body parts, and used as traditional medicines in parts of Africa and Asia.

Of the eight pangolin species, four are found in Africa. These are the white‐bellied, black‐bellied, giant, and Temminck's ground pangolin. Three of these species live in Central African forests. The tree-dwelling white-bellied and black-bellied pangolins, weighing approximately 1.5 to 3kg (comparable to a small rabbit), and the ground-dwelling giant pangolin can weigh up to 33kg (the weight of a small Labrador dog).

Population - Sizes - Mortality - Rates - Potential

But little is known about population sizes, mortality rates, and reproductive potential of African pangolins. Mounting evidence suggests that as the availability of Asian pangolins declines, and international trade flows increase, traders increasingly supply the more abundant and less expensive African pangolins to meet demand.

Seizures of pangolins and their scales and skins from Africa, destined for Asia, are increasing with over 53 tons seized in 2013 alone. These estimates likely represent a fraction of all pangolins traded, and an even smaller portion of the number of pangolins hunted.

Pangolins - Central - Africa - Year - Team

To better understand how many pangolins are hunted in Central Africa each year, I and a team of researchers collated information on the quantities of animals that hunting villages extract from the forest, from studies conducted over the last 20 years. By doing this we can provide crucial information on regional trends which can be used to inform conservation actions and policy.

We looked into the number of animals hunted in villages and offered for sale by collating data from research and reports that covered over 100 areas in sub-Saharan Africa between 1975 and 2014.

Information - Animal

We extracted information on whether the animal was eaten or sold,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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