A pangolin carries its baby at Bali Zoo in Indonesia. (AP)

A pangolin carries its baby at Bali Zoo in Indonesia. (AP)

Zookeeper Hector Guerra gently holds Baby, the youngest in a group of white-bellied tree pangolins, at a zoo in Texas. (AP)

Zookeeper Hector Guerra gently holds Baby, the youngest in a group of white-bellied tree pangolins, at a zoo in Texas. (AP)

Pangolin scales are prized by people who want to use the animals for natural

Pangolin scales are prized by people who want to use the animals for natural "medicines" in Asia. (123RF)

Seized pangolin scales, shown by Malaysian Customs officials after they stopped a smuggling operation in the Kuala Lumpur airport (AP)

Seized pangolin scales, shown by Malaysian Customs officials after they stopped a smuggling operation in the Kuala Lumpur airport (AP)

Over 12 tons of pangolin scales worth around $38.1 million are displayed in Singapore after another seizure from smugglers. (AP)

Over 12 tons of pangolin scales worth around $38.1 million are displayed in Singapore after another seizure from smugglers. (AP)

In the News . . . for All the Wrong Reasons

Posted: September 1, 2020

Say cheese, Mr. Pangolin. You’re in the news!

Why isn’t the pangolin giving us a cheesy grin? It’s partly because he has no teeth. And it’s partly because today’s pangolin news is nothing to smile about.

Pangolins are some of the most often illegally traded animals on the planet. Just last year in Zhejiang, China, authorities arrested 18 pangolin smugglers. They took away 23.1 tons of pangolin scales. These probably came from around 50,000 pangolins. Each pangolin died to give up its scales.

In other news . . .

Some scientists wondered if pangolins passed the novel coronavirus to people. We know this coronavirus is zoonotic. That means it first spread to people from animals. The virus started in Wuhan, China. People suspect someone bought contaminated meat at a market there and caught the sickness. Was that person shopping for pangolin stew? Or did he or she dine on a bat? Both animals can carry viruses similar to this coronavirus. Did the virus travel from a bat to a pangolin to a person? Scientists don’t know for sure. No one has been able to pin the COVID-19 outbreak on the pangolin with any certainty.

Poachers kill pangolins for money. People buy the dead animal parts because of their superstitions. But God made pangolins with good purposes in mind. The shy mammals can be as small as a housecat—or as big as a kid. They walk on two legs with short front arms dangling. (Remind you of anything? Some compare the pangolin’s funny gait to the T. Rex.) When threatened, pangolins roll into a ball. Their scales protect them. (King George III took his cues from the pangolin in 1820. He owned a suit of armor made from pangolin scales.) Got termites? Ants? A pangolin can help. Each year, one gobbles up (and swallows whole) as many as 70 million insects!

In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. — Job 12:10