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A Malay pangolin climbing a Lychee tree was nursed back to health in a wildlife rescue center

Pangolins belong to an order of unusual mammals that are scale-covered, toothless and specialist myrmecophages, and that also includes eight endangered species. The Malayan pangolin (Manis javanica) is the main species rescued from wildlife smuggling in China. Although pangolins are not likely the direct source of the recent outbreak in humans according to work by Liu and Jiang et al, they have been found to carry or be infected by several zoonotic pathogens, such as the Sendai virus, Coronavirus and Parainfluenza Virus 5. Pangolin illegal trade must be eliminated both for pangolin conservation and for public health.

Image Credit: JP Chen (2020)