Until recently, few people had heard of the pangolin. Then it was wrongly blamed for the coronavirus pandemic. But despite greater awareness of the dangers of eating bushmeat, pangolins are said to be the most trafficked mammal in the world. More than a million of them have been killed in the last ten years.
With its unusual snout, scales and long tail, the Pangolin is one of the strangest and most desired animals in the world. On the banks of the Congo River, its meat is reputed to be the best in the bush. On the markets, the animal is traded for just a few euros, but in the capital city of Kinshasa, it is sold at a premium and eaten only in the best restaurants. The business of its scales, which are highly prized in Asia for their supposed medicinal properties, is even more profitable. In Hanoi, Vietnam, the scales are officially banned but still sold under the table: smuggled in from Africa and sold for up to twenty times their previous value.
In this investigation, we trace the ruthless trade in Pangolins through Africa and Asia.
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