Shaking existence of Pangolins

Chinese Pangolin. Photo by Adnan Azad Asif, wildlife researcher, Bangladesh.

Pangolins are the most alluring animal of the megafauna that are facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. They are on the blink of becoming extinct. Pangolins are known as the sentinel of wildlife because they protect forests from termite destruction to maintain a balanced ecosystem.

Eight species of pangolin found in the world. Among them four species found in Asia which are Chinese, Sunda, Indian and Philippine pangolin. And other four species found in Africa. Which are white-bellied pangolins, Black-bellied pangolins, Giant Ground pangolins and Temminck’s Ground pangolins. Between eight species of pangolins, three species existed in Bangladesh.

At present, only Chinese and Indian pangolins are available. In the forest of Chittagong hill tracts and some parts of north Bengal, a small number of pangolins are struggling to survive. From 2010 to 2015, 159 routes were detected in Bangladesh was used for trafficking pangolins. Through unprotected borders, pangolins are being trafficked from Bangladesh and India.

Hunting of pangolin has been the practice for many centuries, i.e. a coat along with a helmet made of pangolins scales was gifted to King George III in 1820. This shows the brutality of humans among this wordless animal. The greedy eyes of poachers are on them for making a good profit through illegal trafficking.

One kilogram of pangolin meat sells for 400 to 500 dollars. Owing to the high lucrative price of meat, it’s the favorite animal of traffickers. More than one million pangolins were grimly killed for the black market in the past 10 years. Between 2000 to 2019, at least 85000 million pangolins were trafficked internationally.

In 2019, Singapore seized 14.2 tons shipments of meat and 14 tons shipments of pangolin scales -which were coming from Nigeria. Every year about 20 tons of pangolins were trafficked from Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Africa.

Sadia Jahan is a guest writer of Bengal Discover.