BBC: Coronavirus - China wildlife trade ban should be permanent (4)

12 February, 2020

Thank you Sandeep for raising the possibility that illegal trade in pangolins could be responsible for the coronavirus outbreak.

Below is an extract from a news article on Medical News Today. Full text here:


How could pangolins have spread the virus?

Pangolins — a relative of the armadillo and anteaters — are scaly mammals that feed on burrowing insects, such as termites and ants.

Pangolins are also an endangered species, and previous research has shown that the coronavirus is likely responsible for killing a large number of Malayan Pangolins.

In China, the country’s law protects the animals, and selling Pangolins can lead to 10 years in prison. However, the animal is a victim of illegal trafficking — in fact, researchers describe it as “the most poached and trafficked mammal in the world.”

The Chinese use the animal’s scales to treat conditions such as arthritis, menstrual pain, and skin conditions. People also sell the animal’s meat and consider it a delicacy.


Best wishes, Neil

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