South African activists try to protect endangered pangolins

JOHANNESBURG — As World Pangolin Day is marked around the globe, Saturday, some conservationists in South Africa are working to protect the endangered animals, including caring for a few that have been rescued from traffickers.

The eighth annual pangolin day is celebrated to raise awareness about the shy, nocturnal scaly anteater, which some wildlife organizations say is the world’s most trafficked animal.

In South Africa, traffickers often sell the pangolin meat locally and ship the scales to Asia, where they are in demand for use in traditional medicine. The growing illegal trade has prompted plans in South Africa for a rehabilitation centre for sick or rescued pangolins as well as the deployment of sniffer dogs specially trained to detect the scales’ pungent aroma.

Africa’s four species of pangolins are under increasing pressure from poachers because Asia’s four species have been decimated, according to experts. While commercial trade in all eight species is forbidden, international confiscations of African pangolin scales amounted to about 47 tons in 2017, more than double the quantity seized in the previous year, said the African Pangolin Working Group, a conservation organization based in South Africa.

Dogs have been trained to check for hidden pangolin scales at South African borders and there are plans to create a “pangalorium” — a research and medical centre for pangolins, including the growing number of live animals seized in sting operations.

Pangolin scales contain keratin, a protein also found in rhino horn and human fingernails. There is no scientific proof that they provide any medicinal value. Conservationists say well over 1 million pangolins have been poached since around 2000; the various kinds range from vulnerable to critically endangered on a list of threatened species.

The Associated Press

Just Posted

Alberta joining class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

CALGARY — The Alberta government says it’s joining a class-action lawsuit to… Continue reading

First Nations displaced by storm share concerns with Scheer campaign

WINNIPEG — Families forced to flee the Lake Manitoba First Nation are… Continue reading

3 economists who study poverty win Nobel Prize

STOCKHOLM — Two researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a… Continue reading

CannTrust to destroy $77 million of plants and inventory to comply with rules

VAUGHAN, Ont. — CannTrust Holdings Inc. says it will destroy $77 million… Continue reading

Giant pumpkin weighing 2,175 pounds sets California record

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — A Northern California pumpkin hobbyist has won… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Red Deer River Naturalists Flower Focus Group Meeting. When: Oct. 16… Continue reading

It’s hard to imagine a majority government

On the heels of the last French-language debate of the campaign, Conservative… Continue reading

Opinion: Dangerous election talk from NDP leader Singh

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh already lacked credibility by ignoring any attempt… Continue reading

City spinning its wheels on better cycling tracks

Re: “No ‘climate’ emergency for Red Deer; Mayor says council prefers action… Continue reading

An appreciation for Alberta’s plight would be nice

I watched with dismay and chagrin, the debate Thursday night of our… Continue reading

Canada’s mixed doubles curling team downs Slovakia at world championship

ABERDEEN, Scotland — Canada remained undefeated through round-robin play at the world… Continue reading

Canada coach John Herdman promises ‘blood, guts and thunder’ against U.S.

TORONTO — Coach John Herdman promises “blood, guts and thunder” when Canada… Continue reading

Brazen thief steals $20,000 Dali artwork in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO — A brazen thief stole a Salvador Dali etching valued… Continue reading

Most Read