Pangolins, or ‘scaly anteaters’ as they are often called, are fascinating mammals covered head-to-toe in overlapping keratin scales. By using large front claws and an incredibly long & sticky tongue, pangolins hunt and survive on a diet of ants and termites. Each of the 8 species share these common characteristics, as well as a rapidly declining population due to poaching.
The word ‘pangolin’ is derived from the Malay word pengguling which translates to “one who rolls up.” A pangolin’s best defense is to roll in a ball and “hope for the best” – using its overlapping scales as protection against a predators bite or grasp, rendering them easily captured by poachers.
Just like rhinos, and many other wildlife species, pangolins are falsely believed to possess medicinal and spiritual properties. In some Asian cultures, the scales of pangolin are believed to cure hangovers, impotence, and even cancer. Pangolin meat is considered a rare delicacy in several countries, a ‘luxury’ reserved only for the most elite. Somewhat ironically, pangolins are also suffering in Africa due to the bushmeat trade. In some countries, the locals are willing to eat any animal they come across to sustain themselves and their families.
WILDLIFE TRADING CARD SERIES
Global Conservation Force (GCF) has partnered with Save Vietnam’s Wildlife (SVW) to help with their mission of protecting wildlife and eliminating illegal trade in Vietnam. One of the ways SVW is helping combat demand for wildlife is through educational programs with school-aged children. While educational programs such as these have proven to change attitudes for the children who attend them, it can become a challenge to keep the ideas of conservation alive once the children leave the program.
In order to keep kids engaged in conservation, caring about wildlife, and spreading awareness of the plight of endangered animals, SVW & GCF developed a trading card series featuring 8 of the most vulnerable species in Vietnam. GCF Pangolin Project Coordinator, Lauren Ayres Martinez, developed these cards alongside the SVW education team in order to make them aesthetically pleasing with clear & concise messaging. After attending the SVW educational program, each child is given a trading card featuring one of the eight species, the hope is for kids to share the information from their cards with each other and their family at home to keep the idea of conservation alive long after they leave the SVW program. By creating a “Pokemon” style trading card, kids are able to trade & collect cards in order to have all 8 species, while important conservation messages are taught.
When GCF representatives visited SVW in April of 2018, 250 sets of cards were printed to kick-start the new trading card program, which allowed at least 2000 students to have a trading card of their own. Now that the school year has begun again and SVW has started their 2018-2019 primary school education programs, GCF is hoping to provide more trading cards for the education team to distribute. We are offering the opportunity for our supporters to help spread the message of wildlife conservation through these trading cards. $10 will provide a full set (8 species) of cards to a student, $50 will provide 1 card for each child in an entire class, $250 will provide a full set of cards for each child in a class, and $1000 will provide a full set of cards for each child in an entire grade!