COVID-19 Brings Attention to Pangolins
The new coronavirus outbreak has brought attention to a little-known creature – the pangolin.
In a recent report, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says the animal is "among the leading suspects" that imported COVID-19 from wild bats to people. The agency follows illegal wildlife activity.
Pangolins are the size of a small cat to a large dog. Conservation organizations say they are the most heavily illegally traded wild animal in the world. The animals are hunted in Asia and countries near the Sahara Desert in Africa. They are bought and sold illegally, mainly to East Asia for their scales and meat. The scales are made of keratin, which is also found in human hair and nails.
"One operation last April seized 25 tons of African pangolin scales — representing an estimated 50,000 dead pangolins — with a market value of some $7 million," UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly said. "Between 2014 and 2018, the equivalent of 370,000 pangolins were seized globally."
There are eight species of pangolins. Their tongues can be longer than their bodies. Four species are native to Asia and the other four to Africa. All were placed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora's protected list in 2016. It is not known how many African pangolins are left in the wild.
The U.N. found that as Asian supplies of pangolins decreased from overhunting, illegal traders have turned to Africa to fill demand. Starting in 2013, West and Central African nations including Nigeria and Cameroon, were major suppliers of pangolin scales and meat. More recently, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Liberia have become involved in the illegal trade.
The UNODC reported that hunters can earn from $8 to $13 for a small live pangolin and $25 to $30 for a large one. In Uganda, hunters reported catching as many as 20 per day.
Once caught, pangolins are placed in hot water or fire to remove their valuable scales. Depending on their size, a pangolin can have up to 1,000 scales. They are dried in the sun and later ground into a powder. That powder is used in Chinese medicine to make a paste believed to help a woman produce breast milk and help with blood flow, among other cures. Pangolin meat is also valued and used in some Asian cooking.
Previous outbreaks like the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, in 2002 and the Middle East respiratory syndrome, MERS, in 2012 started in animals and later spread to humans.
Scientists are still looking for the exact source of the current coronavirus outbreak. But conservationists hope that the association with the coronavirus will help to end demand for the endangered pangolin.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
1.looking for 寻找
I happened on just the thing I'd been looking for.
2.be native to 原产于
Ginger is native to India and China.
3.illegal trade 非法贸易
The illegal trade in animal products continues to flourish.
4.wild animal 野生动物
We should protect the wild animal.
5.The new coronavirus outbreak has brought attention to a little-known creature – the pangolin.
brought attention to 吸引...的关注
Europe's deadly outbreak of a rare form of E.coli bacteria has brought new attention to food safety issues.
The crisis brought new attention to the billion-dollar market for travel insurance.
6.It is not known how many African pangolins are left in the wild.
It is not known 不清楚
It is not known whether the bomb was originally intended for the capital itself
As yet it is not known whether the crash was the result of an accident
联合国毒品与犯罪问题办公室在最近一份报告中表示，这种动物是将野生蝙蝠体内的新冠肺炎病毒传染给人类的“主要嫌犯之一” 。该机构负责跟踪非法野生动物活动 。
穿山甲的大小相当于一只小猫和一只大狗的大小 。保护组织称，它们是全球非法贸易最多的野生动物 。这种动物主要在亚洲和非洲撒哈拉沙漠附近的国家被捕获 。它们的鳞片和肉类主要面向东亚地区非法交易 。鳞片的主要成分是角蛋白质，角蛋白质也存在于人类的毛发和指甲中 。
联合国毒品与犯罪行为办公室执行主任加达·瓦利（Ghada Waly）表示：“去年4月的一次行动缴获了25吨非洲穿山甲鳞片，这意味着大概有5万只穿山甲死亡，这批鳞片市值约为700万美元 。2014年到2018年期间，全球缉获的鳞片相当于37万只穿山甲 。”
穿山甲有八个品种 。它们的舌头可能比身体还长 。其中4种穿山甲原产于亚洲，另外4种原产于非洲 。所有品种都被列入了2016年《濒危野生动植物种国际贸易公约》的保护名单 。尚不清楚野生环境中非洲穿山甲的剩余数量 。
联合国发现，随着亚洲穿山甲的供应因为过度捕获而减少，非法交易者转向非洲以满足需求 。从2013年开始，包括尼日利亚和喀麦隆在内的西非和中非国家成为穿山甲鳞片和肉类的主要供应商 。最近，象牙海岸、几内亚和利比里亚也卷入了非法贸易 。
联合国毒品与犯罪问题办公室报告称，一只小型活体穿山甲能让捕获者获利8到13美元，而一只大型活体穿山甲能获利25到30美元 。据报道，在乌干达，捕获者每天能捕获多达20只穿山甲 。
一旦被捕获，穿山甲回被放进开水或大火中，以去除身上宝贵的鳞片 。根据穿山甲体型大小，一只穿山甲最多能脱落1000片鳞片 。鳞片被晒干后磨成粉 。这种粉末被用于中药，制成一种据说有助于孕妇产奶和活血，以及具有其它疗效的糊状物 。穿山甲的肉类也很值钱，被用于一些亚洲饮食中 。
科学家仍在寻找当前冠状病毒爆发的确切源头 。但是环保主义者希望，与冠状病毒的关联有助于终止人类对濒危穿山甲的需求 。