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Guardians of the Pangolin: The fight to save the world’s most trafficked animal

If you’ve never heard of the pangolin, you’re not alone. The majestic rhino and elephant tend to steal the spotlight when it comes to the issue of illegal wildlife trafficking. But the plight of the pangolin is dire.

Over a million pangolins have been trafficked in the past decade, with a single pangolin costing as much as USD1,000 on the Asian black market. Some experts claim that pangolin sales account for up to 20 percent of the entire USD19 billion illegal wildlife trade.

The pangolin is particularly coveted in China and Vietnam, where its meat is considered a delicacy, its blood an aphrodisiac and its keratin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine to supposedly cure ailments ranging from asthma to cancer. This rare, enigmatic creature is “literally being eaten out of existence,” according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Coconuts TV had the unique opportunity to join Save Vietnam’s Wildlife team as they journeyed across Vietnam to free 35 critically endangered Sunda pangolins back into the wild and to explore the underground pangolin trade in Vietnam.

Post Series: China
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