The United Nations on Wednesday approved a ban on global trade in pangolins, a highly endangered species that is believed to be the world’s most trafficked mammal.
Delegates at the UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) voted to place pangolin on the convention’s “Appendix I,” which prohibits any cross-border movement in the animals or their body parts for commercial purposes, Reuters reports.
Like other illicit wildlife commodity pipelines, such as elephant ivory and rhino horn, Africa is the main source of pangolin supply, while the demand comes from Asia.
Pangolin meat is prized as a delicacy in Asian economies such as Vietnam, while the animal’s scales are used in traditional medicines.
All eight of the world’s species of pangolin, which range from 30 to 100 cm length, are threatened with extinction.
Shy and near-sighted, pangolins only venture out from the safety of their burrows or tree-top homes at night to scour for insects.
When startled, they curl up into a ball – a technique that is futile against the cable snares set by hunters.
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