Which animal has a tongue longer than its body, can hang from trees by its tail, and is covered in hard, keratin scales? Meet the pangolin – a creature native to Vietnam and a few other countries in Asia and Africa. Pangolins are highly specialized mammals; they use their long tongues to eat ants and termites and they can curl up into an armored ball when threatened by predators.
Just as the world is starting to learn about these amazing creatures, they are approaching the brink of extinction. Due entirely to human consumption, this wonderfully strange animal is the most trafficked wild mammal on Earth.
Every year, tens of thousands of pangolins are captured, slaughtered, and stripped of their scales for use in traditional medicine. Other pangolins are kept alive in restaurants until they are ordered as a high-end delicacy.
Nobody knows exactly how many pangolins are trafficked each year due to the illegal nature of the trade. Experts estimate that the populations of the two species native to Vietnam, the Sunda Pangolin and the Chinese Pangolin, have declined by 80% and 90% respectively in the past 20 years. Over the last decade, it is estimated that over one million pangolins have been illegally hunted, traded, and killed. The pangolin may very well go extinct before most of the world has even heard of it.
Education for Nature-Vietnam (ENV) was established in 2000 as Vietnam’s first non-profit organization focusing on the protection of nature and wildlife. We spread awareness about wildlife protection to the Vietnamese public through television and radio public service announcements (PSA’s), as well as public outreach events. We work closely with government partners to strengthen policy and legislation, and directly support law enforcement efforts in the protection of endangered species.
We have had a busy year protecting pangolins. In January 2015, we aired the first ever pangolin PSA in Vietnam, which was shown on 86 channels across the country, encouraging the public to report pangolin-related crimes. In June 2015, we succeeded in securing changes to the law to afford far greater protection to pangolins. We recently embarked on a campaign to stop the sale of pangolin scales in traditional medicine shops throughout Vietnam.
ENV is fighting to protect these amazing creatures day-in, day-out; over the next few months, we will step up our efforts by declaring war on the illegal pangolin trade. Donations will help us continue to spread awareness about pangolin protection, shut down shops and restaurants that kill and sell pangolins, and fight to save this precious species from extinction. ENV’s dedicated staff are working hard every day to protect these incredible creatures. With your help, we can win the fight to save Vietnam’s remaining pangolins, and rescue one of the world’s most unique creatures from the brink of extinction.
Please visit our website to learn more about what we do: www.envietnam.org
Watch our pangolin PSA here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7ZTXhlt23c