We are an international network of journalists, working on a series of reports to document the poaching, smuggling, and consumption of pangolins. The project covers more than ten countries and territories in Africa, Europe, and Asia.
The wildlife trade specialists at Traffic recently estimated that 27 new smuggling routes are created by wildlife traffickers each year.
We believe this is a sign of growing cooperation among African and Asian crime groups who have found growing demand for their illicit goods, especially in China. Trade is illegal under CITES, an international treaty to protect endangered plants and animals.
A kilogram of pangolin scales is sold for likely use in Traditional Chinese Medicine in China at US$760, which is about 380 times that of a poacher’s US$2 reward in Cameroon, our reporters found.
China is the major market for pangolins. The scales, mostly made of keratin, are believed to have high traditional medicinal value. There is no scientific evidence showing that they are effective as a treatment for any illness.
The project builds on the expertise and knowledge of local reporters and the reach of their local news organizations to bring these transnational crimes to the attention of local readers and the wider global audiences. The complexity of the trade makes cross-border collaboration among journalists imperative.
Initial funding for this project is provided by the Hong Kong-based ADM Capital Foundation, with an additional grant from the Africa-China Reporting Project of The University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.
If you are interested in joining our collective, enabling local journalists or have information on the trade, get in touch: