Wildlife officials from Southeast Asia met in Cisarua, Indonesia this week to discuss cross-border animal smuggling. Chief among their concerns was the rapid growth in pangolin trafficking. Scaled mammals with long, sticky, extendable tongues (up to 16"), Pangolins were once grouped with anteaters but recent DNA testing has shown that they are most likely a distinct group. Unfortunately for the pangolin, the Chinese prize their meat as a delicacy and believe their scales have medicinal properties, including reducing swelling, improving blood circulation and helping breast feeding women produce milk. Apparently, the more bizarre and endangered a species is, the more likely the Chinese are to believe that snorting it in a powdered form imbues them with magical powers and/or cures cancer.
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