Pangolins have existed for more than 40 million years. Covered from head to toe in scales, they are certainly not your typical furry and fluffy mammal. On closer inspection of their precious little faces, one can begin to imagine that this mammal is not too far removed from the domestic dog. In fact, pangolins are genetically much more closely related to dogs than to other ant-eating animals, such as aardvarks.
Their numbers are rapidly declining because of people’s ignorance regarding pangolins’ scales and body parts. In parts of Asia and Africa, it is believed that their body parts have medicinal properties and that their scales have healing powers. These beliefs are just as ridiculous as those regarding rhino horn. Pangolins’ scales are made of keratin, so people would save a lot of money for the same effect if they ate their own nails. As if ignorance were not enough, man’s stomach and greed are also leading to the extinction of this species. Across Asia, pangolin meat is considered a delicacy and is sold in top restaurants at exorbitant prices.
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