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A ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) in Zimbabawe. Pangolins are one of the world's most endangered species. Adrian Steirn / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The pangolin's future looks gloomy, according to the latest update by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which assesses the conservation status of species.

Of the eight known species of the pangolin, one of the world's most trafficked mammals, two African species, the while-bellied (Phataginus tricuspis) and the giant ground pangolin (Smutsia gigantea), have been moved from "vulnerable" to "endangered" on the IUCN Red List. One Asian species, the Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis), has been uplisted from "endangered" to "critically endangered." No species improved in status in the assessment.

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