97 PANGOLINS SAVED FROM THE COOKING POT

The terrible fate of Pangolins
A Chinese chef once said, “We keep them (Pangolins) alive in cages until the customer makes an order. Then we hammer them unconscious, cut their throats and drain the blood. It is a slow death. We then boil them to remove the scales. We cut the meat into small pieces and use it to make a number of dishes, including braised meat and soup. Usually the customers take the blood home with them afterwards.” Sometimes restaurants request Pangolins is kept alive where they are destined for the dining table as and when requested by the customer.

Video above: The catch by the enforcement officers

The lives of 97 Pangolins were extended. Thanks to the swift action from the Wildlife and National Park Department (Perhilitan Kedah). They Pangolins that were rescued from a house and a booth of two cars were estimated to be worth 23.2 thousand USD. Thanks to the tip-off from the public a man in his 40’s has been arrested to assist in the investigations.

 Image above: The rescued Pangolin has no idea what just happened. Watching over is a Wildlife Preservation officer

These Pangolins saved were to be smuggled to Thailand…
The Pangolins were already packed inside the bags and were believed to be meant for smuggling into Thailand. They are now temporarily safe in the hands of Perhilitan Terrapin Conservation Centre but will soon be returned to their natural habitat. There’s no telling if they will survive in their natural habitat once they are returned or will they fall once again at the mercy of these ruthless poachers?

The cursed Pangolin trade fetches a lucrative income to the poachers where it is estimated at USD200 per Kilogram according to Environmental News Network. If in Africa, it is largely hunted as bushmeat, in Asia, apart from the flesh being considered a delicacy, it is also mistakenly believed to improve one’s health upon consumption.

Dan Challender, co chair of pangolin specialist group had once witnessed the demand of this meat back in 2012. Just a few days after arriving in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, he witnessed a man in a restaurant paying equivalent to USD700 to eat 4.4 pounds (2 kilos) live pangolin killed and served to him. The meat which is an expensive item is ordered when businessmen or women want to celebrate signing of a contract or to impart status.

Poaching Fine or Imprisonment
The Pangolins come as protected species under the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716). If convicted, this man would be fined USD11 – USD22 thousand dollars or face a maximum 3 years jail sentence. Somehow, I think this sum is too little taking the market price of the Pangolins into consideration. The penalty should be heavier as a deterrent sentence for other poachers or would be poachers as well.

Pangolin interesting facts
There are 8 species of Pangolins on earth where 4 species are from Asia and the remaining 4 from Africa. These toothless animals with a poor vision but acute sense of smell are also known as anteaters. Their scales consist 20% of their body weight. A single Pangolin can consume up to 70 million insects a year.

CONTRIBUTION:
4.  CSMonitor

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