The pangolins are poorly understood both by the public and by scientists. One reason is that they are nocturnal, shy away from people and not so spectacular. Youdon´t see them often. They resemble anteaters but they are not related to them. They feed on ants and other insects. No one defends them but many Chinese people like to eat them, and their scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Some of the Asian species are endangered and need protection. Now, more recently people has begun to focus more on them and realized that the Asian species need protection. From all over Asia these animals are sent to China to be cooked and their scales are ground down to be used in medicine.
The TRAFFIC organization that keeps track of the trade in endangered species says that Saba, East Malaysia sent the 22,000 pangolins over 18 months and Vietnam sent in 2011 between 40 000 and 60 000 pangolins. These are estimates based on consignments stuck in customs.
Pangolins of the world
• Manis gigantea - bright green, Central Africa, least concern
• Manis tricuspis - light green, Central Africa, near threatened
• Manis tetradactyla - dark blue, least concern
• Manis temmenicki - pure blue, least concern
• Manis crassicaudata - violet, indian, near threatened
• dactyla - Orange, China, endangered
• Manis javanica - pure cyan, East Asia, endangered
• Manis culionensis - pure red, Philippines, near threatened
Pangolins fetus is a delicacy in China