The scales, made of keratin (the same material as your finger nails, hair and rhino horn) were historically thought to improve circulation and reduce inflammation. As a result the pangolin is the most trafficked mammal in the world, and a rapidly becoming endangered with 3 of the 8 species of pangolin already listed as critical. According to WildAid, pangolin products representing up to 400,000 animals were seized during 2019.
As most of the demand for pangolin scales and meat was coming from traditional Chinese medicine and consumption, it is hoped their removal from the list will dramatically reduce their position in the illegal wildlife trade and conservation efforts can improve the numbers of wild pangolins across Asia.
Learn more about the protection of wildlife using our Goal 15 ‘Life on Land’ resource page!