World Pangolin Day - February 20, 2016

pangolins rescued by the wildlife rapid rescue team

pangolins rescued by the wildlife rapid rescue team

This Saturday, we are celebrating the 5th annual World Pangolin Day! It is estimated that 10,000 pangolins are trafficked each year, yet most people have never even heard of them. These shy animals don't get the same media coverage that some larger mammals get, and World Pangolin Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about these unique mammals.

The Sunda pangolin is a scaly mammal that eats ants and termites and hides in dense forests. While they may resemble anteaters and armadillos, genetic studies suggest they are actually more closely related to bears and raccoons. These secretive and solitary animals are becoming increasingly rare in Asia. Slow moving and lacking teeth, their primary defense is curling up into a ball, making them easy targets for poachers. Pangolins are the most illegally traded mammal in the world. With over one million trafficked in the past decade, these once common animals are now classified as Critically Endangered. In China and Vietnam, their meat is considered a delicacy and is sold for $350 per kg. Their scales, used as fashion accessories and in traditional medicine, are worth up to $1,000 per kg.

Rescued Pangolin Brought to PTWRC for Care. Photo by Peter Yuen.

Rescued Pangolin Brought to PTWRC for Care. Photo by Peter Yuen.

Wildlife Alliance has been working since 2001 to end the trade of wildlife in Cambodia and throughout Southeast Asia. Since then, over 350 pangolins and 61,000 other animals have been rescued. At Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, pangolins often arrive at the center with snare injuries and in poor condition. Our expert staff helps care for the injured animals and moves them to secluded enclosures for rehabilitation and possible release. Unfortunately, the international demand remains high and the plight of the pangolin remains a pressing issue, as we are on the verge of losing this timid and gentle species forever. This year, you can make a difference by helping the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team drive down pangolin trade or by sponsoring a rescued pangolin.

Celebrate with us! We will be posting pangolin facts, pictures, and stories on our social media platforms. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about these incredible animals, and use #WorldPangolinDay to help us raise awareness!