Pangolins aka ‘scaly anteaters’ are tragically the most trafficked and endangered animals in the world. They are delightful creatures. They have no teeth and their only defence is to curl up into a little ball. Against humans – this is sadly no defence at all. There are 8 species on our planet – 4 in Asia and 4 in Africa. But there is so little known about them which is why they are so vulnerable. They are now on the verge of extinction!
They are quite unique creatures covered in hard scales – and these scales are made of Keratin – the same material that comprises hair and fingernails in humans. Little is known about them due to their secretive and nocturnal nature. Like rhino horn, scientific studies have shown that their scales are void of any medicinal or curative properties, but despite that many continue to consume pangolin scales as a traditional remedy for a wide variety of health problems. It is estimated that the black market demand for these animals, led to the plunder of an estimated 41,000-60,000 pangolins from the wild in 2011 alone, and this has shown no sign of abating.
In 2016 Pangolins were moved to Cites Appendix 1 given full protection by Cites which affords these creatures full protection against international trade. But despite being protected, and despite being hard to find pangolins are being poached and sold into the illegal wildlife trade at ever increasing numbers. It is decimating their populations.
“But this fight doesn’t end here. The parties must move swiftly to enforce the decision. Illegal trade will continue to threaten pangolins as long as demand for their meat and scales persists. We need to strengthen anti-poaching and anti-trafficking efforts, and continue to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products in countries like China and Vietnam” Ginette Hemley, WWF head of delegation to CITES
There is more information on Pangolins here: Pangolins.Org
We found this eye-opening documentary film ‘Eye of the Pangolin’ which sheds light on these lovely animals and we present it here to share it with you all. It is a very moving 45 minute documentary film, and it is something of a tragic story – told factually and poignantly. If you are an animal lover or interested in wildlife conservation, which I am sure you are otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this – it is well worth watching – but you might need a few tissues……
For those wanted to get more involved with helping Pangolins – there are two recommended options:
For more information on any of the above please click here to contact me or one of the team at Alexandra’s Africa.
Best wishes to all,
Alexandra’s Africa is a local independent, niche Safari Tour Operator based in the New Forest in Hampshire, offering a range of small-group hosted Safaris and Retreats. For information or to contact: W: alexandrasafrica.com or T: 02380 861278 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org.