I came upon this article on NPR and while my logical brain can process the information about the current state of survival of the species I found it very hard not to be emotional.
Would you eat a small animal that does you no harm? Would you eat a dog? A feral cat? Where is the line between food as means for survival versus delicacy? These are ethical dilemmas that my Western brain has hard time processing.
Pangolins have become luxury food like shark fin driven by both its rarity and uniqueness. In Traditional Chinese Medicine pangolins it was the scales of pangolins that were seen as cure for various conditions, for reducing swelling and boosting lactation. In modern days it is the thought of “wild meat” that is driving the demand for pangolins. Pangolin meat has become a traditional meal served during business meals by large corporations.
Trade of pangolins is banned in China yet pangolins are imported as far as Indonesia and Africa to satisfy the demand in China. Serving a dish with pangolin meat is seen as status symbol to show that the restaurant is above the law. In a paper published in 2011 the numbers are overwhelming - 24 tons of pangolins were seized between 2006 and 2009. Once can only imagine the scale of the actual impact on pangolin population.