China removes pangolin from traditional medicine list, East Asia News & Top Stories

China removes pangolin from traditional medicine list, East Asia News & Top Stories”

Pangolins are scale-covered insectivores, about the size of a house cat, that are highly valued in Asia for their meat and scales. Last year, 130 tonnes of pangolin scales were seized in cross-border trafficking busts.

According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, along with the illegal hunting, using pangolin scales for traditional medicines is another huge threat to the species as the scales are used as an ingredient in traditional Asian medicine, especially in China and Vietnam. The other five are listed as vulnerable or endangered.

Pangolin scales are believed to promote blood circulation, remove stasis and diminish inflammation. The figure represents up to 400,000 pangolins.

"These actions of China will have a real impact, these are steps that were critical, that needed to be taken if real conservation was going to happen for these animals", said in a statement David Olson, director of Conservation at WWF Hong Kong.

'Most of the demand for pangolin is coming from traditional Chinese medicine and consumption.

"I am very encouraged", said Zhou Jinfeng, secretary-general of the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), reported in The Guardian.

However, China has now placed an increased focus on protecting the pangolin, granting it first-class state protection last week- putting it on the same level as the panda.

More news: Health company apologises after data breach affects GP video app

Attempts have previously been made to farm pangolins to prevent them from being illegally traded, however these have been so far unsuccessful.

Pangolins have received particular attention since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Nevertheless, no positive identification was obtained yet, with experts suggesting a 100% identification will be hard.

Trade in wildlife including bats and pangolins has been linked to so-called zoonotic diseases that leap from animals to humans, and China quickly cracked down on the industry in a series of measures long-promoted by environmental groups.

With the coronavirus evidently arising from a wet market in Wuhan, China has been forced to crack down hard on illegal wildlife trade.

Bun a ban is not enough in itself.

But experts said that for both bans to be effective, they must be properly enforced by authorities and combined with public education campaigns.

Steve Blake, the chief representative of WildAid in Beijing, has also pushed for improved protection for the pangolin.

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