Pangolin. The most illegally trafficked animal on the planet. Up to 2.7 million pangolins are killed every year in Central and West Africa.
- Some estimate that sales now account for up to 20 per cent of the entire wildlife black market.
- They are illegally hunted for their scales, highly prized in Chinese medicine and their meat.
- They curl into a ball when threatened, usually by lions, tigers or leopards, but sadly this makes them an easy target for poachers.
- They are the only mammal completely covered in scales (made of keratin, the same material as fingernails). The scales are so hard, they cannot be penetrated by even a lion’s teeth.
- They have no teeth but their sticky tongues can be longer than their bodies.
- There are eight species of pangolin. Four living in Africa and four in Asia.