There are eight species of pangolin: Four Asian species and four African species.
Thanks to the unfortunate belief that pangolin flesh, scales, and fetuses are delicacies and/or have medicinal benefits, the Chinese Pangolin and the Sunda Pangolin are classified as Endangered. As Asian pangolin species become scarce, wildlife traffickers are sourcing African pangolin species for illegal markets.
All eight pangolin species are listed in CITES Appendix I, which essentially bans international trade in pangolins and their parts or derivatives.
Asian pangolin species:
- Chinese or Formosan pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) – Critically Endangered
- Malayan or Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) – Critically Endangered
- Indian or thick-tailed pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) – Endangered
- Palawan or Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis) – Endangered
African pangolin species:
- Tree or African white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis) – Vulnerable
- Giant ground pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) – Vulnerable
- Cape or Temminck’s ground pangolin (Manis temminckii) – Vulnerable
- Long-tailed or black-bellied pangolin (Uromanis tetradactyla) – Vulnerable
The black-bellied pangolin is the smallest species (about 80 cm long, including the tail) and the giant ground pangolin is the largest, reaching up to 1.8 meters!
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM, all pangolin species are experiencing decreasing populations.