Pangolins are the world’s trafficked Mammal

The world's most trafficked mammal is finally receiving some protection. One photographer has captured their plight in the images below

Pangolins are said to be the world's most trafficked mammal. All eight species are targeted for their meat and for use in traditional Chinese medicine. At the Cites meeting in South Africa in September 2016, they received extra safeguards against trafficking.

Wildlife photographer Paul Hilton wanted to capture their plight. He has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition's photojournalism category for his image "The Pangolin Pit".

The photo shows about 4,000 dead, defrosting pangolins, weighing a total of five tonnes. It is believed to be the largest seizure of these animals ever discovered.

As well as the dead pangolins, there were 96 live ones, kept alive because of their size. Force-feeding them could make them larger and more valuable to their poachers.

The dead pangolins were incinerated while the live ones were released into the local rainforest.

"Wildlife crime is big business," says Hilton. "It will stop only when the demand stops."

The rest of his images can be seen below.

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