If you read my full Disney The Jungle Book Movie Review then you will know where these cute artichoke looking creatures, were recently featured in. In the movie, you get a quick glimpse at this timid animal that has become #1 on the world’s most critically endangered mammal list. During my trip to LA for the #JungleBookEvent I sat in a phone conference with Jeffrey Flocken.
During a phone conference with Jeffrey Flocken, who is the North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare where he leads the organization’s team of legislative professionals in the US and Canada advocating for global, national, and local policy initiatives on behalf of wildlife conservation and animal welfare. We spoke to him about these critically endangered species and the most illegally traded mammal in the world.
There isn’t much that the organization has been able to gather about these almost hard to find animals. Things the organization has been able to learn about these fragile animals is that they are unable to survive in habitats. They are unable to breed and will sadly pass away if captured and held in a habitat. All eight species are considered “Threatened with Extinction” primarily due to international trade by the IUCN. Two are “Critically Endangered,” two are “Endangered,” and four are “Vulnerable.”
Why are these animals endangered? Pangolins are prized in China, Vietnam, and other Asian countries for their scales, which are widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and for their meat, which is considered a delicacy. As pangolin populations dropped in consumer countries, dealers started sourcing pangolins from other areas including Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and now Africa.
Pangolins are also smuggled live across land routes by car and bus. The U.S. is a consumer country; U.S. government data shows that over the last decade, over 26,000 products made with pangolin derivatives were seized by the federal government on their way into the U.S.
It is such a hard task to have where you are unable to rescue the animal and help them breed indoors where they can be safe. Since this has proved to be impossible researchers are working on ways to help these animals out by fighting legally for them. In 2015, IFAW and a coalition of NGOs petitioned the U.S. government to list all eight pangolin species as Endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
There is a growing consensus among governments, scientists, and NGOs to list all eight pangolins species under Appendix I of CITES, the highest form of international protection from trade. The U.S. and Vietnam jointly hosted the First Pangolin Range States workshop in 2015 with 29 pangolin range countries. At the workshop, it was determined that both range and consumer countries need to increase enforcement and reduce demand.
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If you would like to join in on spreading the awareness of these loving Pangolins and help fight to keep these fragile animals alive. You can visit the International Fund for Animal Welfare Website and find out more information about the Pangolin’s as well as other animals that may need your help.