In July, Indonesian officials discovered twenty boxes filled with illegal pangolin meat and scales being shipped to China. MSNBC reports, "Eight tons of meat and scales, worth $269,000, were found in the boxes at Jakarta airport and at a warehouse raided the following day."
Pangolin parts are considered very valuable in Chinese culture, where they are believed to be aphrodisiacs and cure-alls. Using smoke or dogs to flush the nocturnal animals out of their dwellings, poachers easily collect pangolins, although they are becoming increasingly rare. These toothless creatures offer almost no defense against their predators, simply curling into a ball when threatened. The pangolin is protected in a variety of Asian countries, but conservationists want to push for greater penalties for those caught hunting and exporting the animals. As ant and termite eaters, pangolin survival would also benefit from a decrease in forest destruction.