The Plight of Pangolins

Pangolin

Pangolin

Nihal McDermott, Journalist

You might be asking, what is a pangolin(pang-goal-in)? Well, a pangolin is a scaled mammal. It eats insects, and can grow to be 45 inches to 4.5 feet long. It is afraid of cameras, and it is also the world’s most trafficked mammal.

The pangolin looks like an anteater but smaller. Its scales are made out of keratin, the same material our nails are made out of. When attacked, the pangolin will roll up into a ball to protect it’s soft stomach. This makes it hard for predators to kill it. Except one: Humans can easily kill a pangolin. 

Pangolin scales are said to cure many different ailments. This isn’t proved by any scientific research however. Pangolins are also consumed in some parts of the world. It’s hard not to feel sad for these little, harmless creatures, especially one that does more good than bad. Yes, pangolins are insectivores, which means they eat insects that can harm crops.

A shipment of pangolin scales was found, and it was estimated to have scales from about 20,000 African pangolins. It is estimated that, per year, 400,000-2.7 million pangolins are being consumed, and that doesn’t even count the ones that are getting killed for their scales. Dan Challender said, “Pangolin conservationists are interested in conserving the species, but should be doing so in a way that’s sensitive to the needs of local people who live close to pangolins.” In this quote, we can see that some people need the pangolins to survive, but that wouldn’t be a problem if we weren’t killing many more than we need.

What can we do to help? First of all, I think we need to spread awareness about how the pangolin population is going down fast. Second, we could donate to companies and wildlife shelters to help pangolins and other creatures in need.

Sources

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/pangolins

https://school.eb.com/levels/middle/article/pangolin/332440

https://www.aaas.org/membership/member-spotlight/scientist-dan-challender-stands-pangolins-worlds-most-trafficked-wild

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/03/these-odd-scaled-mammals-are-most-poached-world-and-they-could-go-extinct

https://www.bornfree.org.uk/articles/meet-pangolin-family