GUEST POST: United for Wildlife – Meet the pangolin!
Roll with the pangolins and help United for Wildlife
Ever heard of a pangolin? No? You’re not alone! Few people know about the ‘scaly anteater’ that has been compared to a walking pinecone, an artichoke and even a modern-day dinosaur living in tropical Africa and Asia.
What is a pangolin?
The pangolin may be cute to look at but it is a voracious predator of ants and termites, which it hunts using its sharp claws and an extraordinarily long, sticky tongue.
Pangolins are the world’s only scaly mammals. Their scales overlap like artichoke leaves, protecting them from predators and the bites of their insect prey. Tough scales come in handy when you eat over 70 million ants and termites a year!
But do you know the best thing about pangolins? They are masters of the waiting game. When a hungry leopard or lion appears, a pangolin will quickly roll up into a tight ball to protect itself, the scales acting as super tough armour. Then they wait. And wait. The pangolin knows the predator will eventually tire, leaving it to unfurl, stroll away and live to see another day. That’s how it is supposed to work. And so it did, until recently.
Armoured – But they still need protection
The problem is that the pangolin’s defences don’t work against humans. More and more people are hunting wild pangolins for their meat, scales and other body parts. Pangolins are now thought to be the most illegally traded mammals on the planet, with more than one million believed to have been taken from the wild in the past 10 years. They can’t possibly survive this onslaught for long.
Roll with the pangolins! Help save the pangolins
United for Wildlife is a movement for a generation who doesn’t want to stand by while our species destroys others. Add your voice to ours and help us protect the incredible pangolins before they hit dinner plates. Together we can make a difference!
Play Roll With The Pangolins this week on Angry Birds Friends, and help spread the word by asking your friends to play. Then join us in social media so we can get more people talking about this crisis.
Carly Waterman, EDGE Programme Manager
ZSL (Zoological Society of London)
ZSL is one of seven conservation organisations that are ‘United for Wildlife’. ZSL conservation teams are working hard to save pangolins in the wild. Find out more about pangolins and illegal wildlife trade.