International poaching syndicates are targeting pangolins on the African continent as Asian pangolin numbers have been severely reduced over the years. In Asia, the scales are used in traditional medicine, and the pangolin is also seen as a delicacy. By October, the quantity of pangolin scales confiscated in Asia reached 68 tonnes for 2019. This equates to approximately 300 000 pangolins. There are four species on the continent – the Temminck’s ground pangolin, giant ground pangolin, black-bellied pangolin and the white-bellied pangolin.
The African Pangolin Working Group is hands-on when it comes to pangolin conservation. Some of their functions include assisting law enforcement with sting operations to catch those involved in illegal trade, supporting and providing evidence in all court cases and working with the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital who treat affected pangolins. They are also involved with all aspects of the release and tracking process once a pangolin has made a full recovery.
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