Pangolins in peril: The illicit wildlife trade has pushed this mammal to the brink of extinction

The first time I saw the pangolin, I could scarcely believe it was a mammal. It looked peculiarly reptilian and prehistoric, its elongated body covered with diamond-shaped scales, resembling a miniature crocodile. The pangolin had been rescued in March 2019, by the staff of the Forest Department who had successfully acted on intelligence and intercepted a group of traffickers trying to sell it in a nearby town. It had been captured in a remote section of the northern-Eastern Ghats by digging up a large anthill into which the pangolin had burrowed. The situation reminded me that these unique animals are the most trafficked mammals in the world, poached to the brink of extinction.

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