Target: Ginette Hemley, Senior Vice President-Conservation Strategy and Science, World Wildlife Fund
Goal: Bring public attention to the endangered pangolin by publishing educational information.
Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are currently threatened by illegal poaching and wildlife trade. These shy, unobtrusive nocturnal animals are being harvested for their meat and hides. Although two out of four Asian pangolin species are endangered and the other two species are threatened, pangolin trade is still flourishing due to a lack of public attention and recognition. Pangolins are among the most numerous illegally traded animals in Southeast Asia and they must be protected. Urge the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the world’s largest endangered species conservation organization, to bring about public awareness to pangolins and their plight.
International trade in pangolin species was banned in 2000. However, these animals are still highly prized targets for wildlife traffickers in Asia. Pangolins are the only mammals that have scales, making them highly unusual and distinctive. Many wildlife buyers believe the scales contain medicinal properties and can cure various diseases, including asthma and certain cancers. Pangolins are extremely rare and may be sold for as much as $1,000 each on the black market.
Despite their protection, pangolins are still being poached. In January, four Chinese nationals were caught smuggling 189 pangolin skins into Jakarta. In 2011, 7.5 tons of pangolin meat was also discovered in Jakarta. In addition, many pangolins are transported live to ensure meat is fresh, but a large number die of hunger, thirst, and neglect during the transportation.
As insectivores, pangolins are important to the environment. The loss of pangolin populations would alter the ecosystem of tropical forests due to the rise in ants and termites. The low profile of pangolins makes it difficult for conservation efforts to be put in place. Pangolins are not attracting as much attention from the public and from authorities as tigers, rhinoceroses, and other illegally traded wildlife. It is crucial for WWF to increase public awareness of the pangolin. Sign the petition below to ask Ginette Hemley of the WWF to start campaigning for pangolin conservation.
Dear Ms. Hemley,
I would like to bring to your attention the threats to the pangolin species. As you may know, illegal poaching and illegal trade threaten pangolin populations in Asia. Although several pangolin species are listed as endangered and threatened, pangolins are still among the most numerous illegally traded animals in Southeast Asia. There is not enough public attention and recognition for the pangolin. I would like to urge you and WWF to increase public awareness to pangolins and their plight.
Pangolins are highly prized targets for wildlife traffickers in Asia. As the only mammals with scales, pangolins are thought to contain medicinal properties. Wildlife buyers will purchase pangolin hides, scales, and meat. Some pangolins are also bought and traded live, which is inhumane and cruel in nature. Although international trade in pangolin species was banned more than a decade ago, pangolins are still being poached and sold by the hundreds.
These animals need increased protection through increased public recognition. Pangolins are not attracting as much attention from authorities as other illegally traded wildlife. In order to increase conservation efforts for pangolins, I would like to ask you to begin a campaign for pangolins.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Soggydan via Flickr