The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) on Wednesday banned all global trade of pangolins, The Guardian reported. The ban, unanimously agreed upon by delegates from the body’s 182 member-nations at its meeting in Johannesburg, covers all eight species of the mammal, including the Indian and Chinese pangolin. They have now been moved to from Appendix II to Appendix I of the Cites international agreement, which lists species that may face extinction unless trade is closely monitored.
More than one million pangolins have been poached in the past decade because of a growing demand for their meat and body parts, according to AFP. While traffickers have primarily focused on Asian species of the mammal, they have now increasingly turned to hunting African variants after countries such as China and Indonesia ramped up their anti-poaching operations. More than 18,000 tonnes of pangolin scales have been seized across 19 countries between January and September this year, according to BBC.
Pangolins are also only able to produce one offspring each year, which limits their ability to recover from extended poaching. A World Wildlife Fund official called the global ban on trade “a huge win and rare piece of good news for some of the world’s most trafficked and endangered animals”. In May this year, India moved Cites seeking more protection for the Chinese pangolin and the Indian pangolin.