Image courtesy of TRAFFIC

A wildlife trade monitoring group is sounding the alarm over a reported increase in the trafficking of critically endangered Philippine pangolins (Manis culionensis).

TRAFFIC, a wildlife trade monitoring group, said in a press release dated August 4 that there is an alarming increase of pangolins seized from illegal traders. According to the group, nearly 90 per cent of all pangolins seized by law enforcement in the last two decades were seized between 2018 and 2019.

The group’s research showed that in 2018 and 2019, an estimated 6,894 Philippine pangolins were seized by law enforcement. This marks a sharp increase from only 740 seized pangolins from 2000 to 2017.

The group also stated that in September 2019, 1154.31kg of Philippine pangolin scales were seized in Palawan, making this the highest recorded seizure of pangolin parts. A reference was also made to the recent rescue in January 2020 of 20 live Philippine pangolins in the town of El Nido.

Elizabeth John, TRAFFIC senior communications officer, said that while the increase in seizures means that law enforcement is paying more attention to illegal pangolin trade, more effort is needed for arrests and prosecution of poachers and traders.

“While the rise in pangolin seizures speaks to successful enforcement action, it is also deeply alarming news for this rare animal,” said John.

“With pressure continuing to mount, the only hope for the Philippine Pangolin is to stamp out the illegal trade through thorough investigations into poaching and trafficking cases, more prosecutions and solid convictions of traffickers,” she added.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.