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.
Our strong-willed Sunda pangolin, Lucy, was rescued after she lost a front and hind foot to a poacher’s snare. However, she does not let her injuries hold her back and she is still able to climb trees! Although it is unlikely that she will be able to adequately fend for herself in the wild, she happily receives top of the line care at our forested Wildlife Rehabilitation Station.
Lucy was rescued with a tiny baby, and we were very excited when she had another baby one year later after being paired with a male, who was also a snare amputee. Both babies have since matured and been released into the protected forests of the Southern Cardamom National Park. Lucy has just been introduced to another adult male pangolin who was donated by a concerned local who found him for sale in a market. If the pair have any pups, we hope to release the Critically Endangered animals into the wild when they are ready!
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.