Target: John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES
Goal: Applaud the unanimous decision to completely ban international trade on all species of a mammal that has been devastated by poaching.
It is estimated that over a million wild pangolins have been killed over the past 10 years. These animals are mammals that are also called scaly anteaters. They may not look appetizing to many, but in China and Vietnam they are considered an expensive delicacy. Their scales and blood are also thought to have medicinal value. Thankfully, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has issued a total ban on the trade of pangolins worldwide.
The desire to taste and to use this animal to unscientifically treat aliments has driven some species of pangolin to the brink of extinction. This ban is necessary for the survival of this animal, and it was made possible through the efforts of environmental organizations and by petitions like this one signed by ForceChange activists.
These animals are notoriously easy to catch because they roll into a ball when they are in danger. This method of defense works well when the attacker is a predator that cannot bite its way into the mammal’s scaly armor. If the attacker is a poacher, the animal is left defenseless as the poacher easily picks them up.
These animals have never been as popular with the public as other, less scaly endangered species, but they are still an integral part of the ecosystem. They help to regulate the population of ants and termites. CITES should be congratulated for bringing the plight of this low profile animal into the light.
The price of this animal on the black market has risen drastically over the past five years, but the stricter enforcement and harsher penalties that will follow the decision made by CITES could give the animal a fighting chance. Commend CITES for passing this ban to protect this vulnerable animal.
Dear Secretary-General Scanlon,
Congratulations on the passing of the total international trade ban on the pangolin, the world’s most trafficked mammal. The high value of this animal on the black market has brought it to the brink of extinction in Asia. The desire to eat it as a delicacy and use it medicinally has sealed a cruel fate for the majority of the pangolin population. This trade ban could help save the rest of this endangered species from suffering that same fate.
This mammal has always had a low profile, but it is an important part of maintaining the balance of the ecosystem. It helps to control the ant and termite population. It is good to remember that each part of the ecosystem is important in maintaining balance. Thank you for looking out for the underrepresented pangolin and passing this ban to protect this valuable creature from extinction.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Valerius Tygart