A rare pangolin has been caught on video in the wild in Hong Kong.
Threatened by poaching – for their meat and scales – and heavy deforestation of their natural habitats, pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world. The animals are protected in Hong Kong.
The pangolin was spotted this week in the New Territories by Hong Kong resident Steve Pheby, director of Hong Kong Hikers.
“I heard a rustling noise and thought it was a snake. I stopped in my tracks, focused my headlamp and was shocked to see it was a pangolin. Such a rare sight,” Pheby says, not wanting to give away details about its exact location.
The images and video, posted on the Hong Kong Snakes Facebook page, were met with excitement from nature lovers in the city.
“Amazing, the world’s most trafficked animal. Hope he stays safe. Great sightseeing,” wrote one.
“Oh My Gosh!!! That is sooooo cool! I am so jealous! Thanks for posting that!!” another post said.
“Amazing … How wonderful you got to see this one up close and personal … Stay safe pangolin,” wrote another.
There are eight species of pangolin found in Africa and Asia, two of which are critically endangered.
Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are reclusive and nocturnal animals that roll up into a ball when threatened. They are seldom seen in the wild, and are very hard to raise in captivity.
According to WildAid, an estimated 100,000 are poached from the wild every year across Africa and Asia. Their meat is considered a delicacy by some in China and Vietnam, while their scales and foetuses are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Pangolins are also used in traditional African bush medicine.
Seizures by Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department often make headlines. In June 2016, Hong Kong Customs seized more than 13 tonnes of pangolin scales from three shipments originating from West Africa.
According to WildAid, an estimated one million pangolins have been traded in the past decade. Although there is no population data for any pangolin species, the levels of observed trade and the patterns of exploitation strongly suggest that all pangolin species are in decline and that trade is the primary reason.
More Info: www.scmp.com