There are two species of pangolins native to Vietnam. The Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) lives in northern parts of the country, while the Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) lives in southern regions.
Pangolins are hunted throughout their range. They are consumed as food and valued for their scales, which are used to make traditional medicine. Large quantities of pangolins and pangolin scales are also smuggled through Vietnam to China.
Pangolins are eaten in Vietnam, as well as exported in large numbers across the border to China. Vietnam is considered a gateway to smuggle pangolins to China, and regularly receives shipments across the border from Laos and Cambodia that may originate from as far away as Malaysia, Myanmar, and Indonesia.
Many pangolins die during the long journey from the forests where they are caught to the foreign markets where they are butchered. This photo shows several pangolins confiscated from a smuggler. Most were later auctioned off to wildlife traders.
Photo by Asian Pangolin Conservation Project
A pangolin in wine. Another common end point for pangolins that end up in the trade. A pangolin (right) soaks in wine next to a jar of king cobra wine.
A newborn pangolin sits alone in a cage in a Hanoi market. Separated from its mother, the infant will almost certainly die within a few days.
Photo by Liz Bennett
Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in wildlife restaurants. Photo: A wildlife restaurant menu offers Cay Huong (civet), Nhim (porcupine) and Te Te (pangolins), whole, steamed, or with traditional medicine. At this restaurant, pangolin is being sold for about $80 USD per kilogram.
A pangolin confiscated in Quang Tri. Pangolins are delicately natured animals. Smugglers force water or corn flour into the stomachs of pangolins to increase their weight prior to selling the animals to middlemen and market traders.
Photo by Mark Grindley