Customs officials in Thailand have rescued nearly 100 pangolins from certain death.
The shy, scaly anteaters are believed to have been en route to China or Vietnam, where they are consumed as delicacies. Their body parts are also used in dubious folk remedies.
The Guardian reports that the pangolins were discovered in a truck on Sunday, when the driver fled after being stopped at a checkpoint in the southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan.
Pangolins are often trafficked alive, and injected with water to increase their weight. Many do not survive the ordeal.
The video below is a rare glimpse of an endangered Sunda pangolin in the wild:
Another victim of medicinal myths
Researcher and pangolin expert Dan Challender told MSN earlier this month that pangolin scales are touted as a cure for a wide array of maladies, from “children’s hysterical crying to eyelashes curling inwards”.
He added that there is no sound medical basis to support such claims.
Rapacious demand for pangolins in East Asia, in particular from China and Viet Nam, where the animals are both consumed and used in traditional medicine practices, is fueling the trade and driving pangolins towards extinction.
There are eight species of pangolin and all populations are in decline, according to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.
How to help pangolins
Pangolins need our help. Find out what you can do at:
- TRAFFIC Southeast Asia’s “Twelve in Trouble” awareness campaign
- Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV)
Pangolins are natural pest controllers. Did you know one pangolin can consume more than 70 million insects per year? Learn more at 11 Cool Facts About Pangolins.
(Photo: Obtained from the video.)