Conservationists in China have called for the State Council to list pangolins as a first class nationally protected animal and ban the medical use of it, in a bid to stop the animal from being extinct.
The third Saturday in February marks the World Pangolin Day and this Saturday is the sixth of its kind. It is an opportunity for pangolin enthusiasts to join together to raise awareness about these unique mammals and their plight.
Chinese pangolin, one of eight species of the animal, was listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2004. Though Chinese law bans the eating of pangolins, its medical use is still permitted.
China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) on Friday called for stronger protection measures to forbid eating, selling and using pangolins in medicine, and to elevate it to first class protected animal from second class, reported thepaper.cn.
“We want to make the protection of pangolins into a state level and let the State Council to come up with tougher protection measures,” said Hu Chunmei, secretary general of the endangered species fund of the foundation.
According to the figure by the State Forestry Administration, which issues consumption control measures every year, the overall consumption of pangolins from 2008 to 2015 reached 186 tons, with 26.6 tons each year.
In the last 10 years, at least 1 million pangolins have been hunted and traded worldwide to be eaten or for medical use, according to CBCGDF.
The foundation also proposed to stop issuing permission of artificial breeding of pangolins, destroy the bodies and products of the animal, and punish those involved in the trading of the mammals.
Earlier this month, photos of a "pangolin feast" posted on Weibo had prompted online outrage. A member of an inspection delegation from Hong Kong had expressed gratitude to two local officials in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region for “cooking pangolins." He claimed he had “fallen in love with the flavor.”
Screenshot of the controversial Weibo post. /CCTV Photo
The State Forestry Administration responded that illegal trafficking, selling or consuming of wild animals on the national list of protection are criminal offences.
According to IUCN, all the eight pangolin species are vulnerable and the numbers in Asia and Africa are rapidly declining.
Here are the 12 things you can do on World Pangolin Day to raise awareness and help these animals, according to the official website of the organizers:
-TWEET using the hashtag #WorldPangolinDay
-LIKE the World Pangolin Day Facebook page
-BLOG about pangolins on World Pangolin Day
-SHARE pangolin information on your social media networks
-CREATE pangolin art — paint, draw, sculpt, tattoo
-EDUCATE by giving a presentation about pangolins at school
-SUPPORT organizations which are working to protect pangolins
-HOST a World Pangolin Day party or event (post your photos on the World Pangolin Day page!)
-BAKE cookies or a cake in the shape of a pangolin (post your photos on the World Pangolin Day page!)
-REQUEST full enforcement of laws and penalties for smuggling pangolins (and other wildlife)
-INFORM traditional medicine prescribers that the use of pangolin scales is illegal (and there are no proven health benefits to consuming scales — they are made of keratin, just like fingernails!)
-NOTIFY the authorities if you see pangolins for sale at markets or on restaurant menus, or if you know of anyone capturing or possessing pangolins.