This Is How A Species Goes Extinct: More Than A Ton Of Frozen Pangolin Meat Seized In Indonesia


Pangolins are one of the most trafficked animals in the world.

Pangolins are one of the planet’s most unique and adorable species. The scaly, anteater-like creatures live in parts of Asia and Africa, and there’s an entire task force dedicated to their protection. A popular Pokemon character, Sandslash, was even based on these “artichokes on legs.”

And yet, humans can’t seem to stop killing them.

Authorities in Indonesia recently busted smugglers trying to transport 1.3 tons worth of dead pangolins into Singapore. Heart-wrenching photos taken by a Getty photographer show dozens of the animals frozen in their trademark armored ball before they were burned by customs officials on Wednesday.

Warning: The pictures below may be upsetting to some readers.

Pangolins are the world’s “most-trafficked” mammal. The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the Chinese pangolin — one of eight species of pangolins — as “critically endangered.”

But despite this designation, consumers in parts of Asia — primarily China — see pangolins as a delicacy, and they’re frequently caught as bushmeat and smuggled across borders. Many believe pangolin meat can help nourish the kidneys, The New York Times wrote earlier this year. And, like many of their endangered brethren, attempts at conservation have been stymied by the unfounded belief that parts of their bodies (in this case, pangolin scales)
have medicinal value.

A frozen pangolin seized by customs officials in East Java, Indonesia.


Indonesian officials seized 1.3 tons of frozen pangolin bound for Singapore on July 8.

“The pangolin runs the risk of becoming extinct before most people have even heard of them,” Britain’s Prince William said last year.

Pangolins have suffered due to their relative obscurity compared to other, better-known endangered —> Read More