Target: Truong Tan Sang, President of Vietnam
Goal: Terminate employment of forest rangers who sold critically endangered pangolins for food.
Forest rangers in Vietnam’s northern Bac Ninh province recently sold 42 critically endangered pangolins to local restaurants where they were killed and sold as food. The animals, known in Vietnam as “scaly anteaters,” were seized from illegal animal traders by police. Rather than rescuing the creatures, a group of park rangers sold them for a profit of nearly $12,000 USD. While the rangers claimed that the limited trade of pangolins is allowed in the country, they cited a law that was changed years ago.
Pangolins are small, scaly mammals found in Africa and Asia. Their unique look, palatable meat, and perceived medicinal value makes them the most trafficked mammal in the world. All eight species of pangolin are classified as endangered, while two species, including the species sold by the forest rangers, are critically endangered.
Pangolin is the most common wild animal killed and sold for consumption as bush meat in Africa. In Asia, some use the creature’s long tongue in soups, while others drink its blood or preserve the entire creature in alcohol to create a wine of sorts. Pangolin scales are commonly used to make jewelry, or are powdered and used in Asian medicine where they are thought to treat kidney and skin conditions.
It is a forest ranger’s job to uphold animal protection laws, rather than to breach them for profit. The fact that the officials tried to defend their behavior shows a lack of remorse and a continued belief that their actions were justified. Sign the petition below to ask Vietnam to fire these rangers, which abused their position of authority.
Dear President Truong Tan Sang,
More than 40 critically endangered pangolins were sold to restaurants by forest rangers in Vietnam. When criticized, the rangers used outdated and nonexistent laws to justify the sale, which brought in nearly $12,000. The animals were sold with the knowledge that they would be killed and used to create delicacy foods such as pangolin wine and pangolin tongue soup.
Forest rangers should be protecting the environment and the animals that live in it, rather than exploiting it for personal profit. These officials have demonstrated that they are unfit for a position of authority. We, the undersigned, ask that these employees be fired immediately for their misconduct.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Valerius Tygart via Creative Commons