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Coronavirus news continues to spread. News has come out that Chinese scientists now blame the pangolin for spreading the coronavirus. The pangolin is a scaled mammal sold as a delicacy in China. It looks similar to a scaly anteater.

Because of coronavirus’ connection to the wildlife trade, scientists are now pointing to the pangolin as the possible source of the virus. The pangolin is the most heavily trafficked animal in the world, and also critically endangered. Pangolin meat is served in China as a delicacy, a sign of wealth and privilege.

More than 300 pangolins are poached daily each day and sold dead or alive in China, Africa, and other Asian countries. Pangolins are often found in exotic animal markets. Pangolin trade was banned in 2016, but illegal trafficking is still robust. An exotic animal market in Wuhan is thought to be the source of the coronavirus.

Scientists studied the genome sequence of the pangolin to investigate the disease and found that the virus in pangolins was a 99% match to the coronavirus currently infecting people. This means pangolins are the likely intermediate host of the virus, according to Chinese state media.

The study led by South China Agricultural University found that the pangolins are the likely host. Now that scientists know the host, the virus can be controlled and prevented according to a spokesperson. An infectious disease expert told CBS News that diseases pop up as long as exotic animal markets exist. He said, “I want the wild animal markets closed,” a request echoed by the World Wildlife Fund and Animal rights activists around the globe.

You can help stop pangolin poaching by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.

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