Traditional Chinese medicine companies are becoming less reliant on pangolin scales, thanks to a worldwide ban on trade and enforcement at China’s ports.
Wildlife groups are urging the government to ban use of pangolin scales for medicine entirely to help save the reclusive ant-eating mammal.
Through 2015—the last year the government published data on pangolin scale quotas—roughly 57,000 pangolins were killed each year to feed demand for a traditional Chinese medicine.
The scales, comprised mainly of keratin, are roasted and ground into powder for medicine used to treat ailments from lactation difficulties to rheumatoid arthritis.
Of two dozen traditional Chinese...