Poaching is sending the shy, elusive pangolin to its doom

The small animals, whose scales are coveted for use in Chinese medicine, are now among the world’s most trafficked mammals.

A Temminck’s ground pangolin named Tamuda searches for a meal of ants or termites at a rehabilitation center in Zimbabwe. He was rescued from illegal wildlife traders, who likely would have smuggled his scales to Asia for use in traditional remedies.

He’s the size of a golden retriever puppy and covered with scales.

With his tail stretched out parallel to the ground for balance, Tamuda holds his little arms in front of him like a T. rex.

The caretaker gently guides the young pangolin toward a dirt mound that he starts to break apart with a pick. Look, he encourages Tamuda: ants. Tamuda catches on and begins to eat, his nearly body-length tongue searching the crevices, his long claws mimicking the pick.

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