GRAPHIC WARNING: Harrowing scenes of the planet’s most exploited animal being bludgeoned and boiled for the illegal wildlife trade have been captured by an undercover investigator.
The pitiful pangolin endures a horrific killing as it is first smoked out of its hiding place inside a hollow tree and then repeatedly struck over the head with a machete by a poacher. Finally, it is cooked in a cauldron of boiling water, possibly still alive, before being stripped of its armored coating of scales for the oriental medicine trade.
These shocking scenes emerged today after an investigation by World Animal Protection and Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit into the plight of the most illegally traded creature on the planet.
Prince William once warned that pangolins were so exploited by trafficking networks they were likely to become extinct before most people had heard of them.
Scales of injustice. Portrait of a pangolin – the world’s most trafficked wild animal.
With a million pangolins taken from the wild between 2000 and 2013, all eight species across Africa and Asia are threatened with extinction, their conservation status ranging from vulnerable to critically endangered.
The pangolin’s dire predicament is because of the £1,000 a pound value oriental medicine places on the reptile-like scales the mammal has evolved to protect itself from predators.