While China has just outlawed the trade in wild animals for human consumption following the global outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, the largest ever hauls of pangolin scales have been seized in Singapore. In the first few weeks of April, 25 tonnes of pangolin scales have been seized from boats bound from Nigeria for Vietnam.
Pangolin scales are widely used in Asian medicine although they have no proven medical benefits. The majority of these shy and gentle animals are poached in Africa, with Asian populations already depleted to the verge of extinction.
The pangolin has been fingered by scientists as one possible source of the COVID-19 outbreak, which is believed to have emerged at a live animal market in Wuhan, China. Yet, in the midst of worldwide lockdowns, the pangolin trade flourishes as never before.
ASI spokesperson, Elizabeth Kruger, asserts: “If there were ever a time to quit hunting down wild animals for human pleasure and satisfaction, it would be now. The global outbreak of the COVID virus proves yet again that humans need to respect nature. African governments need to clamp down on the illegal wildlife trade to Asia and elsewhere if we are to stem the tide of animal-borne diseases to humans, and at the same time conserve our rapidly dwindling populations of precious wild animals and ecosystems.”