A pangolin in a defensive crouch. Credit: Manis temminckii CC via Wikimedia commons

The Poaching and Trafficking of Pangolins is Sowing Instability in Central Africa

Pangolins are small mammals with hard scales and vital to biodiversity in forested regions. They are also the most trafficked mammal in the world. Although they are a protected species in international law, transnational organized criminal groups profit from trafficking Pangolins

This includes the Congo Basin in Central Africa. International organized criminal groups run poaching and trafficking networks in which most poached pangolins are exported to China and Southeast Asia, where they are a key ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pangolin meat is considered a high-end delicacy.

According to my guest today Oluwole Ojewale these networks rake in millions and are a destabilizing force across several countries in the Central Africa. Oluwole Ojewale is the Regional Organized Crime Observatory Coordinator for Central Africa at the Institute for Security Studies. As he explains in our conversation Pangolin trafficking is part of a broader criminal network of illicit wildlife trafficking that funds armed groups, including terrorist groups active in the Central Africa.

To get the episode delivered to your preferred podcast player, go here.