Photo by Peter Yuen
The Sunda pangolin is a scaly mammal that eats ants and termites, hides in dense forest, and rolls into a tiny ball when scared. However, this secretive and solitary animal is also the most illegally traded mammal in the world. Hunted for their meat and scales, more than one million individuals are believed to have been trafficked in the past decade.
meet Lucy and lukE
Mom and baby duo get new home! On March 25, 2015, two rescued pangolins that were living at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center were taken to our Wildlife Rehabilitation Station in the Southern Cardamom Forest. Pangolins are extremely sensitive creatures that do poorly in captivity, and the climate and environment at the Rehabilitation Station is better suited for them.
The endangered pair are doing especially well considering that when they were rescued, mom had lost a front and back foot to snares. She can still climb, but it is unlikely that she will be able to adequately fend for herself in the wild. However, the next best thing is the protected and forested rehabilitation station!
In May, Lucy gave birth to another baby! We plan to release Luke once he is ready to be on his own. While we will not be able release Lucy, we hope to bring a rescued male as a mate and release her offspring.
The most Trafficked Mammal in the World
When pangolins are scared, they curl-up into tiny balls and use their scales as armor. Unfortunately, this self-defense mechanism does not protect them from their biggest threat – poachers. The illegal trade in pangolins has reached epic proportions, and 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 are used in traditional medicine, and can be worth up to $1,000 per kg.
It is estimated that 10,000 pangolins are trafficked each year, and Wildlife Alliance's Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team is determined to put an end to this devastating trade before it is too late. By tracking down poachers, raiding restaurants, markets, and stores, and investigating trafficking networks, the WRRT is the last line of defense for these helpless animals once they have been removed from the forest. The team also provides education to hunters, middlemen and dealers on the current laws put in place to ensure lasting change.
3 ways you can help pangolins
- Hunted for their meat and scales, more than one million pangolins are believed to have been trafficked in the past decade. Help the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team put an end to this insidious trade before it is too late by making a gift today.
- Sponsor a Pangolin! By sponsoring our beloved pangolins, you can make an impact in the recovery of this disappearing species.
- Get the word out! While considered the most trafficked mammal in the world, these shy animals don't get the same media coverage that some larger mammals get. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and help us raise awareness by sharing the plight of the pangolin with your friends.