Pangolins, often called "scaly anteaters" are covered in tough, overlapping scales. These burrowing mammals eat ants and termites using an extraordinarily long, sticky tongue, and are able to quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball when threatened. Eight different pangolin species can be found across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Poaching for illegal trade in Asian pangolins and the destruction of their habitat has made these remarkable scaled animals one of the most endangered mammal groups in the world.
Pangolins are hunted for food, for use in traditional medicine and as fashion accessories, and for a rampant illegal international trade in scales, skins, and meat. There is high demand for nearly all of their body parts, principally from China. The large-scale illegal trade in Asian pangolins is drastically driving down their numbers throughout Southeast Asia. Rapid loss and deterioration of available habitat places added pressure on the dwindling numbers of remaining pangolins.
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