At this year’s conference, delegates of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) voted to list all eight species of pangolin under Appendix I, giving them the highest level of protection available. Appendix I is reserved for “the most endangered” species and prohibits the international trade of those listed. The decision to move pangolins to Appendix I comes after years of declining populations of both Asian and African pangolins. Regarded as the most trafficked mammal in the world, pangolins are highly sought-after in China and Vietnam, where some believe the animal’s scales and meat have medicinal qualities.
The Sunda pangolin, found in Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia is classified as critically endangered. Although these animals are rare and elusive, our teams have rescued three in the last few months. In the past, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team (WRRT) frequently rescued pangolins from traders, but their dwindling populations have led to fewer finds, making each rescue more valuable. This new protection for pangolins will deter poachers and allow our law enforcement units to enforce stricter penalties and punishments. These efforts, coupled with our forest protection program, and our rescue and release operations is giving hope to pangolin populations in the Southern Cardamoms.
Make a donation or sponsor our rescued pangolin, Lucy, who is unable to be released due to severe injuries from a poacher’s snare. Your gifts allow us to protect remaining wild pangolin populations, rescue helpless animals, arrest traders and provide vital care to every animal that has been a victim of this insidious trade. Although this new status will give pangolins increased legal protection, unless we continue to provide critical on the ground support, we will not be able to save them from extinction.