By Sarah Oliver
(Sarah is a year 13 student at Paraparaumu College and has a particular interest in the animals shown alongside.)
When someone says the word pangolin nothing seems to spring to mind for most people. Pangolins are probably the least known mammals in existence. The endangered species is found most commonly in Africa and also in Asia where widespread illegal trafficking takes place.
Interesting and useful
Pangolins are very interesting creatures and are well adapted to living in the wild. They have very long tongues, which extend a foot from their pelvis. They use these tongues to lick up insects from between cracks in rocks, and act as a natural pest exterminator as they can eat around 70 million ants per year. So pangolins provide huge benefits for controlling the ecosystem.
However, despite the fact pangolins are valuable contributors to the environment and are well adapted to the environment, due to their large scales that act as a form of armour, they are being widely trafficked.
Humans are pangolins number one predator. Pangolins are believed by some to possess magic or charms. Their scales are thought to cure diseases, even though scientists have proven the scales are of no medicinal value. Because of this, around 60,000 to 40,000 pangolins were plundered from the wild in 2011.
Social action to protect the pangolin
We are a group of year 13 social studies students from Paraparaumu College, who believe it is our responsibility to promote the social action of the protection of pangolins.
None of the three Asian and the Indian pangolin species are allowed to be traded at all, as they are the most endangered.
In an attempt to raise money for the pangolins, we have organised a bake sale on the 15th of September. The money raised will go towards:
~ reducing demand for pangolins among consumers,
~ strengthening site protection at pangolin strongholds
~ helping communities move away from poaching pangolins,
~ the strengthening of legislation.
If you would like to help prevent the poaching of pangolins and to support them in the wild, please feel free to donate to this address http://www.pangolinsg.org/get-involved/donate/
All of your proceeds would be much appreciated.