A ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii). Pangolins are the world’s most trafficked mammal, hunted for their meat and scales, which—though made of simple keratin—are coveted for inclusion in traditional medicines. Wildlife trade, both legal and illegal, is not just harmful to animals. It’s harmful to us. This year, we are finding out just how dangerous it can be, as the COVID-19 virus—which jumped to us from captured wildlife—spreads around the globe and wreaks havoc on human society. For more on how wildlife trade and deadly pandemics are intertwined, turn to page 14.
Photograph by Jeffrey Van Daele