Ending the Use of Pangolin Scales for Traditional Chinese Medicines

Suzi Eszterhas
Grantee Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Type Stopping the Illegal Wildlife Trade
Location China
Grant Amount $40,000
Duration 1 year

The Chinese pangolin is listed on Appendix I of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which prohibits the international trade of pangolin scales. However, China still allows Chinese pangolin scales, from stockpiles acquired before pangolins had this protection, to be used for traditional Chinese medicines (TCM). This use is believed to enable the laundering of scales from wild-caught pangolins under the guise of legally stockpiled scales, therefore fueling the global trade of pangolins and pushing them towards extinction. The PCF’s grant to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) supports their work with the Chinese government to phase out the use of pangolin scales in TCM through enhanced implementation of pangolin protections and strengthened stockpile management. This is ideal timing for this work, as there is increased pressure exerted by scientific evidence of potential links between pangolins and COVID-19.