A less threatening animal you’d be hard-pressed to find…
Come to think of it, you’d be very hard-pressed to find the pangolin itself. Considered by many guides and trackers to be the Holy Grail of wildlife sightings, pangolins’ nocturnal habits and secretive ways mean that for most part they aren’t seen. Maybe not ever.
The reality the world is currently facing though, is we are approaching a time in which they may never be seen again. Pangolins are ranked as number one in the most-trafficked animals list, and their numbers are in a rapid decline all over Africa and Asia.
There are a number of different species of these wonderfully unique mammals (eight in total; four each in Asia and Africa), and all are under threat. Their meat is considered a delicacy in some eastern countries, and the reputed medicinal properties of their scales are said to be a cure-all, although there is no evidence to support this claim.
World Pangolin Day, February 15th, is about raising awareness of the plight of these ant-eating mammals. This year marks the 9th edition of WPD, and thankfully, awareness does seem to be spreading.
Six international airlines (British, Swiss, Austrian, Lufthansa, Air Portugal and KLM) will be taking the pangolin message to the skies, by screening the groundbreaking documentary Eye of the Pangolin on their long-haul routes.
10 tons of pangolin scales were recently confiscated in eastern China, and whilst this is a clear indicator that the illegal trade is still very much flourishing, it is a positive that China are clamping down on international wildlife trafficking.
Locally – thankfully – pangolins are doing well. Although they are still a rarity, 2018 and 2019 saw a much higher sightings rate than normal across Londolozi. This was most likely due to the dry conditions, which prevented the Pangolins from remaining hidden in the grass. We even named one of our smaller roads “Pangolin Link”, after there were a number of sightings in close proximity over the course of a few months. I imagine that name might give many people false hope, but still…
Do what you can to raise awareness today about the plight of these wonderful creatures; tweet, post on Instagram, Facebook, whatever social media platform you use.
#worldpangolinday is the hashtag to use.
Even the smallest ripples can build into giant waves when heaped on top of one another, and every little bit of awareness helps…