Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

World's Most Trafficked Mammal Lost More Than Half Its Range in Eastern China

Animals
World's Most Trafficked Mammal Lost More Than Half Its Range in Eastern China
2630ben / Getty Images

Pangolins, a type of scaly anteater considered the world's most trafficked wild mammal, have lost more than 50 percent of their range in eastern China, according to a study published Wednesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.


Researchers from Beijing Forestry University, the Zoological Society of London and Imperial College, London focused on Chinese pangolins (Manis pentadactyla), which the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species lists as a critically endangered species, and found that their range had shrunk by 52.2 percent in eastern China between 1970 and 2016.

There are eight species of pangolins in Africa and Asia and they are hunted on both continents for food and for their unique scales, which are used in medicines, according to BBC News.

The Chinese pangolin can be found from Nepal's Himalayan foothills, then south through southern China to Taiwan and Hong Kong.

In response to their findings, the scientists urged the Chinese government to step up their conservation efforts of the mammals.

"Pangolins have been listed in the list of China's state key protected wild animals as level II," study authors Li Yang, Xiaofeng Luan and Minhao Chen of Beijing Forestry University told BBC News. "According to our research and previous research, we suggest that [the] protection level should change into level I."

The researchers used local historical documents, fauna records, scientific surveys from nature reserves, newspapers and scientific articles to assess changes to the Chinese pangolin's range in eastern China.

While the animals roamed more than 30.41 percent of eastern China in the 1970s, by the 2000s their range had shrunken to mountainous areas, especially the Wuyi Mountains.

The researchers also assessed the relative influence of climate change and human encroachment or poaching on the changes in range and found that direct human actions like poaching were responsible for its dramatic shrinking, according to Phys.org.

In fact, the researchers found that as the pangolin's range declined, their preferred habitats also increased in elevation, suggesting that they were fleeing the development of roads at lower altitudes that made it easier for humans to transport captured animals.

The researchers also made recommendations for how governments and communities could protect the animals on a local and regional level.

They suggested creating or expanding nature reserves and engaging local governments and communities in pangolin conservation efforts.

They noted that only 5.62 percent of the 51,268.4 square kilometers (approximately 19,794.8 square miles) that their research determined was the primary conservation area for pangolins was covered by existing reserves.

A replica of a titanosaur. AIZAR RALDES / AFP via Getty Images

New fossils uncovered in Argentina may belong to one of the largest animals to have walked on Earth.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Trump's Affordable Clean Energy rule eliminated a provision mandating that utilities move away from coal. VisionsofAmerica /Joe Sohm / Getty Images

A federal court on Tuesday struck down the Trump administration's rollback of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A wild mink in Utah was the first wild animal in the U.S. found with COVID-19. Peter Trimming via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA

By Jonathan Runstadler and Kaitlin Sawatzki

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have found coronavirus infections in pet cats and dogs and in multiple zoo animals, including big cats and gorillas. These infections have even happened when staff were using personal protective equipment.

Read More Show Less
A mass methane release could begin an irreversible path to full land-ice melt. NurPhoto / Contributor / Getty Images

By Peter Giger

The speed and scale of the response to COVID-19 by governments, businesses and individuals seems to provide hope that we can react to the climate change crisis in a similarly decisive manner - but history tells us that humans do not react to slow-moving and distant threats.

Read More Show Less
Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave as they arrive on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol for the inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

By John R. Platt

The period of the 45th presidency will go down as dark days for the United States — not just for the violent insurgency and impeachment that capped off Donald Trump's four years in office, but for every regressive action that came before.

Read More Show Less