No, I'd never heard of a pangolin, either. The photo almost looks like a huge pine cone, the scales are so precisely affixed. I wish people would stop eating delicacies that are in effect, wildlife. Exactly how much meat can one get off a bat for heaven's sake? It's true that we have to respect other cultures, but when the world's safety is in effect, isn't it time to think another way? I don't know...I have mixed feelings about that. Those folks may consider a plum pudding rather disgusting...I know I do and so does everyone in our family. My poor mother used to take 2 days, grind her own suet and make those puddings....and every single one of us hated them! Sorry, memory breakthrough there. Have you ever had a British christmas or wedding cake? Those things are like fruitcakes and let me tell you, they last forever. Yuck!
Most flus and viruses jump from the animal to the human population. This is something that we have to live with...but why has there been so much more of it in the past few years.
I think the Chinese people are less to blame for the pangolin problem, than the wildlife traffickers getting rich from capturing and trafficking pangolins and other animals. I read that the Chinese public is so poor and so in need of food, they need the wet markets to feed themselves. A news article explained that the Chinese are under pressure now to close wet markets. The problem is that the Chinese public is so poor, they need this cheap bush meat to fill their stomachs. It's a controversial issue.
IMHO, it's less the demand from the Chinese public for pangolin scales feeding the problem, than the international criminal syndicates who capture and sell pangolins and other endangered species .There is tremendous profit to be had in the illegal wildlife trade. Those criminals aren't poor like the Chinese public, they get to live the good life from stealing animals and selling them.
These illegal wildlife trade syndicates are the same people who kill elephants for tusks and rhinos for horns. They exploit the ignorance of the impoverished, oppressed Chinese public. The Sumatran rhino is now on the precipice of being officially extinct- there is only one female left alive. The illegal wildlife trade is behind this and other impending extinctions. As usual, the greedy among us are the true drivers of most social problems.
The Chinese public is less at fault. The Chinese populace is poor and will eat what they can get to eat, pangolins included. It's the people who traffick these animals who are the only ones getting rich. Now they go to Africa to harvest these profitable animals, since they've exhausted pangolin populations in Asia.
I watched a documentary on the pangolin trade, which explains the pangolin problem: