The pangolin pit
Nothing prepared Paul for what he saw, or smelled. Some 4,000 defrosting pangolins hidden in a shipping container behind a façade of frozen fish. This was one of the largest seizures of the animals on record. ‘Wildlife crime is big business,’ says Paul. ‘It will stop only when the demand stops.’
Pangolins are the world’s most trafficked animal, with all eight species targeted. Pangolin meat is eaten to demonstrate status and their scales are wrongly believed to treat a variety of ailments. These dead pangolins pictured were probably destined for China and Vietnam for the exotic meat trade or for use in traditional medicine.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III; 16-35mm f2.8 lens at 21mm; 1/800 sec at f8; Manfrotto tripod.
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Paul Hilton, UK/Australia
Paul is a photojournalist focused on global environmental and conservation issues, helping to investigate and expose conservation priorities. Widely published in leading international media, he is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has received numerous awards, including a World Press Photo award for his work on shark fins.