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How Chinese Demand for African Pangolins Worsens Security in Cameroon

A file image of an African pangolin in the wild. Guillem Sartorio / AFP

The African pangolin is a small mammal covered in hard scales. These scales are used in Chinese traditional medicine, fueling an illegal global trade that is driving these shy animals to extinction. Pangolins are now the most poached animal on earth, with one being killed every three to five minutes.

The trade is also fueling organized crime networks that threaten peace and security in rural Cameroon. A new investigative report by Alexia Tata, published by the U.S. Institute of Peace, draws on undercover reporting to show that the pangolin trade is exacerbating both corruption and violence in Cameroon.

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