The Chinese government continues to allow the use of pangolin scales for traditional medicine despite promises to crack down on a trade that has made them the most illegally trafficked mammals in the world.
A report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveals online sales platforms such as eBay and Taobao continue to advertise pangolin products, while major pharmaceutical companies, including the leading China Beijing Tong Ren Tang Group, offer similar items directly on their websites.
The researchers behind the Smoke and Mirrors report found 221 companies had been licensed to sell items containing pangolin scales, which appeared as an ingredient in 64 different products.
The watchdog group said this revealed major loopholes in China’s regulations that needed to be closed if the government is serious about protecting endangered wildlife.
Pangolin have almost disappeared in China because of a medically unproven belief that a broth containing the scales has medicinal