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Pangolins receive top protected status in China
The Chinese government upgraded the protection level of Chinese pangolins to the highest level on 3 June 2020. This is a crucial move that is expected to boost rescue efforts and strengthen the protection of the endangered species. The species, which used to be under the second level of State protection, is now listed among the top-protected animals.
According to a national wildlife survey conducted by forestry authorities in the 1990s, back then there were some 60,000 Chinese pangolins in 11 provinces, including Yunnan, Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan and Zhejiang. In past decades, the species' population has sharply declined due to habitat destruction, rampant poaching and smuggling. In 2007, China banned pangolin hunting and suspended all commercial imports of pangolins and related products. In 2017, the IUCN placed Chinese pangolins on the Red List of Endangered Species after a team of experts determined the population had dropped by 90 percent over the previous decade.
Raising the protection level will bringstricter regulations and firmer action against the illegal hunting and trade of pangolins. Expected measures are:  
· The development of official principles for studying the Chinese pangolin in the field and the further strengthening of surveillance and research of the species' habitat and population. 
· The designation of core protection areas based on the habitat’s surveys. 
· The establishment of a pangolin research institute. The institute is expected to develop captive breeding technologies for maintaining the size of the species' current population.
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