Pangolin scales illegal wildlife trade

Pangolin scales illegal wildlife trade

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Scales of a pangolin - composed of horny keratin and evolved as armour to protect these ancient mammals from attack by predators. Pangolins face a critical threat in the massive illegal trade in their scales for use in traditional asian and chinese medicine. Pangolin scales are now being smuggled from as far away as Africa (these scales are from Smutsia temminckii) to meet a huge demand that sees Pangolin scales fetching high prices. There is no proof or likelihood that pangolin scales offer any treatment or cure for the range of ills it is used to treat. Their dissapearance falls in the shadow of the similar threat faced by rhinos for their horns.

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Keywords: asia, asian, china, cuisine, cure, endangered, fake, horn, illegal, keratin, medicine, pangolin, placebo, rhino, scale, superstition, traditional medicine, wildlife trade

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