This weird-looking creature is a pangolin.
Often called “scaly anteaters” for their hard, plate-like scales, their population is being decimated by illegal smuggling.
Found across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, pangolins are trafficked for medicinal purposes. Demand for their scales has skyrocketed in eastern Asia, where their scales sell for up to $300 per pound.
All eight pangolin species are protected under international law, and two are considered critically endangered. Smugglers don’t seem to care, as almost a million pangolins were trafficked in the last 10 years.
Story and editing by Jeremy Dreyfuss
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