The CITES membership today overwhelmingly passed Proposals #9-12 which give increased Appendix I protection to all species of Asian and African pangolins. These scaly, cryptic, nocturnal animals, which resemble anteaters but are actually related to carnivores, are the most heavily trafficked wild mammal in the world. Representatives from IFAW, the International Foundation for Animal Wel
fare, noted that just this year alone, seized shipments of pangolin scales total more than 30 tons. All pangolin species are in dramatic population decline with imminent risk of extinction. The low reproductive rate of pangolins - a single young per year - give little hope for populations to recover under the current rate of harvest. These animals are hunted primarily for trade to China, where pangolins have long been extirpated, and where pangolin meat is considered a luxury food and the scales are used in traditional medicine. In introducing the proposal for uplisting of the Indian pangolin, the delegate from India noted that former tiger hunters have shifted to hunting pangolins; such is the value in trafficking in these animals. Appendix I listing is a crucial step towards protecting pangolins globally.