• The Financial District


The Chinese government has removed pangolin scales from its 2020 list of approved ingredients used in traditional Chinese medicine, a move campaigners describe as a "critical step" towards saving the world’s most trafficked mammal.

Pangolins are scale-covered insectivores, about the size of a house cat, that are highly valued in Asia for their meat and scales. Last year alone, authorities seized more than 130 tons of pangolin related products, a figure estimated to represent up to 400,000 animals, conservation group WildAid claimed, Ben Westcroft reported for CNN late in the afternoon of June 10, 2020.

There are eight species of pangolin found in Asia and Africa. To date, three species are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature --- the Chinese pangolin, Philippine pangolin and Sunda pangolin, which is found across Southeast Asia. The remaining five species, including the Indian pangolin, are listed as either vulnerable or endangered.

Although pangolin scales are made of keratin -- the same material found in human fingernails and rhino horn -- traditional Chinese medicine promotes the belief that they improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation. The latest edition of Chinese Pharmacopoeia -- an official government compendium of drugs covering traditional Chinese and Western medicines -- no longer includes pangolin scales on the list of approved ingredients, owing to "wild resources exhaustion."