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.
Unfettered growth of TCM poses a serious threat to biodiversity in Africa, all in the name of short-term profit. Any utilisation of threatened species in TCM could stimulate further demand, incentivise wildlife crime and ultimately lead to overexploitation.
The world’s eight pangolin species are experiencing catastrophic levels of poaching and trafficking to feed demand for their scales, meat and other body parts. In 2016, the global community agreed to make the international commercial trade in pangolins and their parts and derivatives illegal.