How Much is a pangolin Worth

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The price of pangolins varies depending on the region and the purpose of the trade.

Here are some examples of the prices of pangolins:

  • Research has found that pangolin prices are on the rise, fetching upwards of US $600 per kilogram today in comparison to US $14 per kilogram during the 1990s.
  • In 2019, Singaporean customs officials intercepted more than 14 tons of pangolin scales in a single shipment, worth an estimated $38.7 million.
  • Chinese buyers will pay anywhere between $3 and $20 for a pangolin, while traffickers can get as much as $250 for the scales from one pangolin in markets in Asia.

  • The scales of a pangolin may be used to give good luck, increase the price is about 7 to 10 Chinese yuan (US$1 – US$1.43) per gramme.

It is important to note that the illegal trade of pangolins is a major threat to their survival, and efforts are being made to combat this trade and protect pangolins from extinction.

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Economic Value of Pangolins in Illegal Wildlife Trade

Pangolins are one of the most trafficked animals in the world, and their high market value is a major driver of the illegal wildlife trade.

Here are some factors that contribute to their high market value:

  • Demand for Scales: Pangolin scales are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine and are believed to have healing properties.

    Despite the fact that there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, the demand for pangolin scales remains high.
  • Demand for Meat: Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, and is often consumed at banquets and other special occasions.
  • Limited Supply: Pangolins are slow to reproduce and have low population densities, making them a scarce commodity in the illegal wildlife trade.

The economic value of pangolins in the illegal wildlife trade is difficult to estimate, but it is believed to be worth billions of dollars annually

The high demand for pangolin scales and meat has led to a significant decline in pangolin populations, and all eight species of pangolins are now listed as threatened with extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Conservation organizations are working to combat the illegal trade of pangolins and protect their populations.

Efforts include demand reduction campaigns, enforcement of anti-poaching laws, and public education and awareness programs

Addressing the water-related needs of pangolins, such as ensuring access to safe and suitable water sources, is also an important part of conservation efforts to protect these unique and fascinating animals.

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Pangolin Poaching and Trafficking

Pangolin poaching and trafficking are major threats to the survival of pangolin populations.

The illegal wildlife trade in pangolins is driven by several factors, including:

  • Demand for Scales: Pangolin scales are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine and are believed to have healing properties.

    Despite the fact that there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, the demand for pangolin scales remains high.
  • Demand for Meat: Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, and is often consumed at banquets and other special occasions.
  • Limited Supply: Pangolins are slow to reproduce and have low population densities, making them a scarce commodity in the illegal wildlife trade.

The consequences of pangolin poaching and trafficking are severe.

Pangolin populations have declined significantly in recent years, and all eight species of pangolins are now listed as threatened with extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The illegal trade in pangolins also contributes to violent conflict in Central Africa.The financial incentives that drive individuals and criminal networks to engage in the illegal trade of pangolins are significant.

The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars annually, and pangolins are one of the most trafficked animals in the world

The high demand for pangolin scales and meat has led to a significant decline in pangolin populations, and efforts are being made to combat this trade and protect pangolins from extinction.

It is important to address the root causes of pangolin poaching and trafficking, such as the demand for pangolin scales and meat, in order to protect pangolin populations and ensure their survival.

Conservation organizations are working to combat the illegal trade of pangolins through demand reduction campaigns, enforcement of anti-poaching laws, and public education and awareness programs.

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Pangolins and Traditional Medicine

Pangolin scales are used in traditional medicine in some Asian countries, particularly in China, where they are believed to have medicinal properties.

Here are some of the perceived medicinal properties of pangolin scales:

  • Promoting Lactation: Pangolin scales are commonly used to promote lactation in women.
  • Reducing Inflammation: Pangolin scales are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and are used to treat conditions such as rheumatism.
  • Spiritual Protection: Pangolin scales are also used for spiritual protection and in financial rituals.

The use of pangolin scales in traditional medicine has significant economic implications.

The illegal trade in pangolins and their scales is estimated to be worth billions of dollars annually, and the high demand for pangolin scales has led to a significant decline in pangolin populations

Despite efforts to combat the illegal trade of pangolins, the Chinese government continues to allow the use of pangolin scales for traditional medicine, and pangolin scales are still sold on online platforms and by major pharmaceutical companies.

It is important to note that there is no scientific evidence to support the claims of the medicinal properties of pangolin scales.

The use of pangolin scales in traditional medicine is a major threat to the survival of pangolin populations, and efforts are being made to combat this trade and protect pangolins from extinction.

Legal Penalties for Pangolin Trafficking

Legal penalties for pangolin poaching and trafficking vary by country.

Here are some examples of legal consequences and penalties for individuals involved in pangolin poaching and trafficking:

  • China: Despite being the largest consumer of pangolin scales, China has weak punishments for pangolin smuggling, which are often not enough to deter illegal activities. However, in 2020, China increased the maximum sentence for wildlife trafficking to life imprisonment.
  • United States: In the United States, individuals involved in pangolin trafficking can face fines and imprisonment.

    For example, in 2021, a woman in Portland was sentenced to three years’ federal probation and a $5,000 fine for selling pangolin scales illegally imported into the U.S..
  • Vietnam: Killing, trafficking, transporting, trading, storing, or selling pangolins, including for medicine, is illegal in Vietnam.

    Punishments vary, but violators may be subject to up to 15 years in prison or fined up to $645,000.
  • Nigeria: In 2023, three Vietnamese and one Guinean were convicted and sentenced to six years imprisonment or fine payments for wildlife trafficking in Nigeria, including pangolins.

Despite these legal penalties, the illegal trade in pangolins continues to be a major threat to their survival.

The high demand for pangolin scales and meat has led to a significant decline in pangolin populations, and efforts are being made to combat this trade and protect pangolins from extinction

However, the effectiveness of legal penalties in deterring illegal activities is limited by the high profits that can be made from the illegal wildlife trade.

Conservation Costs for Protecting Pangolins

Conservation efforts aimed at protecting pangolins require significant financial resources.

Here are some of the investments needed for habitat preservation, anti-poaching measures, and rehabilitation of rescued pangolins:

Habitat Preservation:

  • Protecting and conserving pangolin habitats to ensure that they have access to safe and suitable water sources.
  • Conducting research to better understand pangolin behavior and ecology so that conservationists and scientists can identify ways to ensure their survival.

Anti-Poaching Measures:

  • Strengthening agencies that are protecting pangolins and their habitat, such as anti-poaching units, aiding customs, and protected area management.
  • Enforcing anti-poaching laws and increasing penalties for pangolin poaching and trafficking.

Rehabilitation of Rescued Pangolins:

  • Providing medical care and rehabilitation for rescued pangolins, which can cost approximately R150,000 – 250,000 ($9,000 – $15,000) per pangolin.
  • Releasing rehabilitated pangolins back into the wild and monitoring their progress to ensure their survival.

Overall, conservation efforts aimed at protecting pangolins require significant financial resources.

The illegal trade in pangolins is worth billions of dollars annually, and efforts to combat this trade and protect pangolins from extinction require significant investments in habitat preservation, anti-poaching measures, and rehabilitation of rescued pangolins.

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Alternative Livelihoods for Pangolin-Dependent Communities

Efforts are being made to provide alternative sources of income to communities that rely on pangolin hunting or trafficking.

These efforts include education and awareness programs, as well as the development of alternative sustainable livelihoods.

Here are some examples of alternative livelihood projects:

  • Community Forestry in the Congo Basin: This project aims to reduce deforestation and improve livelihoods in the Congo Basin by helping local communities find and develop other income-generating activities.

    These include sustainable agriculture, livestock and fish farming, and the processing of agricultural and non-timber forest products.

    By developing sustainable livelihood alternatives, 1,500 households will improve their incomes, and as a result, reduce pressures on the wildlife and forests.
  • Diversified Livelihoods: The Kwele people in the Republic of the Congo have diversified livelihoods with a primary dependence on farming, cash cropping, and fishing.

    This study found that pangolin hunting and consumption were not significant activities for the Kwele people.
  • Community Markets: Literature research provides several detailed case studies about livelihood alternatives that have already been implemented.

    The Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) project in Zambia is an example of a successful alternative livelihood project.

    The project provides training and support to farmers to produce crops and livestock that are sold at premium prices in urban markets.

    This has reduced the dependence on bushmeat and other wildlife products.

Transitioning to more sustainable livelihoods can have economic benefits for communities.

For example, sustainable agriculture and livestock farming can provide a more stable source of income than hunting or trafficking wildlife.

Developing micro-enterprises, such as the processing of agricultural and non-timber forest products, can also create new job opportunities and increase income.

By reducing the dependence on wildlife products, communities can also contribute to the conservation of pangolins and other endangered species.

Cultural and Ethical Perspectives on Pangolin Trade

The pangolin trade raises ethical dilemmas due to the cultural beliefs that drive their exploitation.

Pangolins are valued for their meat, which is considered a delicacy, and their scales, which are believed to have medicinal properties, although there is no scientific evidence to support this belief.

The exploitation of pangolins is driven by cultural beliefs, as well as poverty and lack of awareness about the impact of their trade on the environment and the species itself.

Raising awareness and changing attitudes is crucial to protect pangolins.

Education and awareness programs can help communities understand the importance of pangolins in the ecosystem and the negative impact of their trade on the environment and the species itself.

These programs can also promote alternative livelihoods that are more sustainable and provide a more stable source of income than hunting or trafficking wildlife.

In addition, law enforcement efforts are needed to combat the illegal trade of pangolins.

The illegal trade of pangolins is driven by organized international criminal networks that are increasingly turning to pangolins as a source of profit

Efforts to disrupt and dismantle these networks are crucial to reducing the demand for pangolins and protecting the species from extinction.

In conclusion, the exploitation of pangolins raises ethical dilemmas due to cultural beliefs and the negative impact of their trade on the environment and the species itself.

Raising awareness and changing attitudes, promoting alternative livelihoods, and law enforcement efforts are crucial to protecting pangolins from extinction.

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