Pangolin scales, like rhinoceros horns, are just made of keratin, but that doesn't stop traditional medicine practitioners from claiming they cure cancer and what-not. It's why pangolins are the most trafficked animals in the world. China stopped a shipment worth around $2 million that required killing around 7,500 of the cure little anteaters.
China's move is an important step in the major campaign now underway to save these these creatures from extinction. NPR's Rebecca Hersher covered the recent ban:
Commercial trade of the pangolin, the aardvark-like mammal that is the world's most-trafficked animal, has been officially banned by the international body responsible for regulating the international trade of endangered species. On Monday, delegates to a meeting in Johannesburg of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) voted to approve the strictest protections available under international law — moving the pangolin into a category reserved for species "threatened with extinction." The ban comes on the heels of a motion earlier this month by the World Conservation Congress to focus attention on the pangolin trade.