African pangolins continue to face an unprecedented threat from the transnational trafficking of their scales. This is primarily driven by demand from China, where the scales are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), both legally and illegally.
EIA encourages CITES Parties, the CITES Secretariat and Animals Committee to consider the information contained in this briefing document when reviewing the study on pangolins developed in accordance with Decision 18.240, paragraph c)
The illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is a major form of transnational organised crime, generating annual income of between $7 billion and $23 billion a year for the criminal syndicates involved. Wildlife crime threatens biodiversity, fuels corruption and impacts public health and the economy.
Tackling wildlife crime, stepping up anti-corruption efforts and enhancing access to information and justice are key to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Out of Africa: How West and Central Africa have become the epicentre of ivory and pangolin scale trafficking to Asia details how endemic corruption, weak or absent rule of law, low levels of development and hotspots of armed conflict have left the region wide open to exploitation by well-organised transnational criminal gangs.
The global illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is now recognised as a serious transnational organised crime. Although there are various estimates of the scale of the crime, the most commonly quoted figure puts the proceeds from IWT in a range of $7-23 billion a year.