3 min read

People Inject These Animals With Water So They Can Sell Them For More Money

This one barely survived.

Pangolins are the most trafficked animal in the world - and people will do just about anything to make a buck from selling them.

Every five minutes, a pangolin is captured in Asia or Africa to be sold in East Asia for his meat or scales, which are mistakenly thought to have medicinal properties. About one million pangolins were traded illegally in the last decade, and demand keeps growing. Between 2011 and 2013, about 116,990 to 233,980 pangolins were killed.

And people want to get as much money as possible from the sale - so they often inject the animals with water or force-feed them corn powder to make them weigh more, according to Phap Nguyen Cong, communications officer at Save Vietnam's Wildlife.

But some people are trying to help these unique, shy animals.

Recently, 50 pangolins were confiscated from wildlife traders in Vietnam's Quang Ninh province. And at least one of them, a pangolin known as PMWA16368, is really sick because of the weight-gaining techniques traffickers used on him.

He's currently being cared for by Save Vietnam's Wildlife - and rescuers have been worried since, at first, he showed no signs of thirst or appetite.

But finally, things started to turn around for him.

Just this week, he woke up in the middle of the day (which is unusual for pangolins, since they're nocturnal), and went to get a drink of water.

"Hopefully he will get well soon enough to be release as we plan our next release within a month," Cong said.