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China raises protection for pangolins by removing scales from medicine list

This is an excerpt from an article written by Michael Standaert and published online by The Guardian on 09 June, 2020.

Campaigners hope the move will help end global trade in the scaly anteater, identified as a possible host for Covid-19.

Pangolin scales have been removed from an official 2020 listing of ingredients approved for use in traditional Chinese medicine in a move lauded by animal protection groups as a key step in stamping out trade in the scaly anteater, the world’s most trafficked mammal.

As many as 200,000 pangolins are consumed each year in Asia for their scales and meat and more than 130 tonnes of scales, live and dead animals were seized in cross-border trafficking busts last year, a figure estimated to represent up to 400,000 animals, according to conservation group WildAid.

Trade in all eight species of pangolin are protected under international law and three of the four native to Asia are included on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature as critically endangered species, including the functionally extinct Chinese pangolin.

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