It is not as though the meat is even that tasty. Diners have variously described it as "stringy," "chewy" and "funky." As a result of pangolin hunting, particularly driven by consumer demand in Asian countries, the mammals are now threatened with extinction.
Peter Knights, CEO of WildAid, told Discovery News that African pangolins have been under threat too. Often Asia and Africa are linked via wildlife trafficking. For example, Knights says that in June of this year, nearly 13 tons of pangolin scales in two shipments from Africa were seized in Hong Kong, representing the biggest seizures to date.
"While we work to reduce consumer demand for pangolin products in Vietnam and China, an Appendix I uplisting will make enforcement more effective and conservation a global priority," Knights said just ahead of today's announcement.
RELATED: Rare Pangolins May Be Eaten to Extinction, Conservationists Warn
WildAid, the WCS and other conservation groups are celebrating today's victory for pangolins. While enforcement of CITES protections always poses incredible challenges, at least there will be strict safeguards in place for pangolins throughout their ranges.
As Lieberman said, "WCS greatly appreciates the initiative of the pangolin range states of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Vietnam, Angola, Botswana, Chad, Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Togo, joined by the United States, in submitting these critical proposals that were adopted today. Their leadership led to the world's governments today committing to protecting them, and we applaud them all."
The new protections will take effect 90 days after the end of the CITES Conference of the Parties 17, which is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa.
WATCH VIDEO: Does Hunting Exotic Animals Help Conservation?