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Environmentalist calls for halt in trade of pangolin scales

The trade-in scales of pangolins are increasingly becoming more profitable and this poses a threat to attempts by environmentalists and stakeholders to effectively conserve the species, which are on the verge of extinction.

All eight pangolin species in the world are protected under national and international laws, and two are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

According to Mr David Kwarteng, Executive Director of the Institute of Nature, and Environmental Conservation (INEC) Ghana, research conducted by the organization submitted for publication, highlighted that pangolins were not only for local consumption but also had huge international trade in its scales.

INEC Ghana, he said had already intercepted more than 100 pangolin scales and reported to the Kumasi Zoological Gardens and called on stakeholders to help curtail the increasing rate of pangolin scale trade on international and local markets.

Making the appeal
during this year’s World Pangolin Day celebration held at Toase Senior High School in the Atwima Nwabiagya South Municipality of Ashanti Region, he said the organization had set camera traps to monitor the population of pangolins to see whether the numbers would bounce back.

This would help inform the public in a few years whether the rate of exploitation matches the population.

The Day was used to sensitize students and raise awareness of conservation and profile of the species.

Mr Kwarteng believed that with frequent sensitization, community engagements and sustainable alternative livelihoods ‘we can win the war against exploitation of pangolins in Ghana.’

He indicated that in Ghana pangolins were considered as ‘chief’s meat’ and were highly regarded due to their palatability.

The scales are believed to cure more than 17 illnesses, and this made medicinal practitioners chase after the animal.

Madam Jemimah Owusu Kessie, Assistant Manager of the Kumasi Zoological Gardens, called on the public to active
ly contribute to protecting animals, especially pangolins, which had enormous benefits in safeguarding the ecosystem.

She said the Zoo was collaborating with NGOs including INEC, individuals and communities through sensitization and outreach programmes to protect such animals.

Explaining how these rescued animals were catered for, she said usually when these animals were brought to the authorities, they treated and rehabilitated them before re-introducing them into the wild.

‘Those who are too weak to be re-introduced, we keep and nurse them till they are better,’ she added.

They consume about 20,000 ants in a day and keeping them in homes will not help them survive, the Assistant Zoo Manager pleaded.

Mr Solomon Yeboah, the Senior Housemaster of Toase SHS, said due to the socio-economic importance of pangolins, he would brief the school’s management on the benefits and subsequently form a fun club to conserve wildlife and other species that impacted the environment positively.

Source: Ghana News Agency