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10 Animals the President’s Trade Deal Will Help Protect from Illegal Wildlife Trafficking

A look at a few animals that the TPP gives us a historic opportunity to protect from illegal wildlife trafficking.

What’s a pangolin? 

A “walking pinecone”? A modern-day dinosaur? Your Google Earth Day Quiz result? There are lots of different ways to describe the pangolin — a cat-sized, scaly creature that lives in Southeast Asia and Africa. But here’s one indisputable fact about the pangolin: It is the most trafficked animal in the world.

Photo credit: Ruslan Rugoals

Traffickers seek out pangolins for their scales and blood — which are boiled off or drained to use in traditional medicine — and their meat, which is considered a delicacy. Thousands of pangolins are trafficked each year, making them among the most critically endangered species in the world and liable to go extinct if we don’t take action.

This is where the President’s trade deal comes in. A trade deal may not seem like an obvious way to help protect pangolins from illegal trafficking, but the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not an ordinary trade deal. As the most progressive trade deal in history, the TPP will put in place environmental standards that combat wildlife trafficking in countries that sign on as our trading partners.  

Here’s why that’s important: Five of the countries who will join the TPP deal are among the world’s 17 “mega-diverse” countries — a group covering less than 10 percent of the earth’s area, but supporting more than 70 percent of the earth’s plant and animal species. 

Check out just a few of the other animals that the TPP will help protect from wildlife trafficking and overfishing:

Leaf-Eating Langurs

Photo credit: Troup Dresser

Andean Mountain Cats

Hammerhead Sharks

Photo credit: Barry Peters


Sea Turtles

Photo credit: Jurriaan Persyn


Photo credit: Rennett Stowe


Photo credit: Willem V Strien

Star Tortoises

Photo credit: Dhammika Heenpel

Yellow-Eared Parrots

Photo credit: Francesco Veronesi

Learn more about how the TPP offers us an historic opportunity to protect our oceans, forests, and wildlife.