With scaly armor like an armadillo's, the pangolin (shown in an undated picture) looks well protected against whatever nature can throw at it. But evolution may not have given the mammal enough protection to survive Chinese demand for pangolin scales and meat.
Technically protected by national legislation in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar (Burma)
, and Laos
, pangolins are nevertheless being poached today at rates that threaten the species' survival, according to a July 14, 2009, report by the WWF, TRAFFIC , and IUCN.
(Learn more about the report and see pangolin videos on our NatGeo News Watch blog
Photograph courtesy Bjorn Olesen, WWF/TRAFFIC/IUCN