How many pangolins are there?

There are eight extant species of pangolin. They comprise the Chinese pangolin, Indian pangolin, Sunda pangolin and Philippine pangolin, which inhabit Asia, and the white-bellied pangolin, black-bellied pangolin, giant pangolin and Temminck’s pangolin, which occur in Africa.

Another popular inquiry is “How long have pangolins been around?”.

In captivity pangolins have been known to live for up to 20 years, however due to their shy, elusive nature it is unknown how long they live in the wild. Ground pangolins measure around 65-110cm from head to tail, and weigh between 7-18kg. Tree pangolins measure around 45cm and weigh up to 2kg.

They prefer sandy soils and can be found in woodlands and savannas that are within reach of water. They are dispersed throughout Southern, Central, and East Africa.

Are the pangolins going extinct?

This is not to suggest that these more modern civilizations are knowingly embracing the use of animal parts of endangered species. Pangolins are coming closer and closer to extinction as prices and demand are rising.

Why are pangolins so prized in China?

The pangolin, the most trafficked mammal on Earth, is prized for its meat and its unique scales, which are said to have medicinal properties. Peter Knights, CEO of the WildAid charity, said that while China’s ban was welcome, a global effort was required to end the drastic decline in the world’s pangolin populations.

One way to consider this is humans are the one predator that pangolins have little defense against. Against its natural predators, big cats like lions, tigers and leopards, pangolins can curl up into balls as the following picture shows: Looks like a bad day at the office for this pangolin. Curling up in a ball allows their tough scales to protect them from being eaten.

What is a pangolin and why are they trafficked?

The animals are trafficked mainly for their scales, which are believed to treat a variety of health conditions in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and as a luxury food in Vietnam and China. In Africa, pangolins are sold as a form of bushmeat, for ritual or spiritual purposes, and use in traditional African medicine.