When you hear that China has passed the death sentence for individuals caught smuggling creatures that one is only vaguely aware of it is surely justifies a blog post.
This quote might remind some of their student days.
Pangolins, nocturnal scaly anteaters which spend most of their days curled up in a ball asleep, are in great demand in China where their meat is considered a delicacy and their scales believed to hold medicinal properties.
The other quote worth highlighting is that in China:
...a suspended death sentence is usually commuted to life imprisonment on good behaviour.
These little chaps are obviously in big demand in China where they are valued for their meat and scales which predictably have medicinal benefits of some description.
China Comes Down Hard on Pangolin Smugglers [PlanetArk]
From October 2005 to April 2006, a gang smuggled 17 containers of pangolin meat and scales worth 23.4 million yuan (US$3.2 million) into China, Xinhua news agency said.
That must be a hell of lot of Pangolins given each one is only the size of a hand. £3.2 million for 17 crates shows why the smugglers were prepared to risk the death sentence.