On Saturday, 15 February, we celebrated World Pangolin Dayto acknowledge, sadly, what is believed to be the world’s most trafficked animal. There are 8 species of pangolin worldwide, 4 Asian species and 4 African species. The African species are known as the African White-bellied Pangolin, Giant Ground Pangolin, Cape or Temminck’s Ground Pangolin (recorded in Southern Africa) and the Long-tailed or Black-bellied Pangolin.
The thing that makes pangolins so unique is their scales. In a world of generally furry or tough-skinned mammals, the pangolin sits uniquely as the only species to be covered in hard keratin scales from head to toe! So, let’s dive into a few interesting facts about these scales and why the pangolin has become a major conservation concern.
Very sadly, the above issues have led to every species of pangolin across the globe, enduring major population declines. This means that there is not a single species of pangolin in the world that is not listed as critically endangered or vulnerable. In 2016 CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) voted to ban the commercial trade in pangolins.
The safeguarding of this species has become paramount in the world of conservation as sadly it’s believed that there is a possibility of them becoming extinct before the majority of world even knows they exist. A scary thought indeed.
The pangolins are a family of animals that definitely need to be preserved. So, it is vital that we celebrate them and spread awareness about these unassuming, incredibly rare and amazing animals.