Coronaviruses — like the one spreading across China right now — are often tracked back to animals sold in markets. COVID-19 appears to have jumped from wildlife to humans in a wet market in Wuhan; the SARS epidemic was transmitted to animals from the palm civet, and MERS began with a coronavirus transmitted from camels in the Middle East, according to"The New York Times."

Scientists are suggesting that Pangolins — a scaled anteater-like creature that is the most trafficked mammal in the world — may have been the intermediate source for the the new coronavirus. But naturalist Sy Montgomery told Boston Public Radio Wednesday the animals don't deserve to shoulder the blame for the spread of the disease.

Pangolin scales have long been used in traditional Chinese and folk medicine to treat a variety of ailments and are trafficked for these properties.

"It seems to me that the way to get rid of these strange new diseases is to get rid of these wet markets, and to stop human expansion into animal habitat," she said. "I don't think pangolins are all that easy to find. That you're going to go out and kill them as a public health service, people are out there killing them to make themselves rich that's why people are killing them."

Sy Montgomery is a journalist, author and naturalist. Her latest book is "The Magnificent Migration: On Safari With Africa's Latest Great Herds."