Will Last-Ditch Efforts by Animal's Rights Groups Save the Pangolin?
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Can we still hope for this wonderful creature??
William's remarks on TV today regarding conservation of the world's animals under threat from man's expansion and stupidity were long overdue and welcome. He made the speech from China where his party is on a diplomatic flag-waving tour and had to be couched in the appropriate diplomatic language. It wasn't “The Chinese” at fault, but “Us,” although I have not heard of anyone in Europe or the US eating Pangolin for breakfast.
So let's put the blame where it roundly belongs, a large percentage of Chinese and other Orientals .
It's just like the cocaine business: the market fires the producers and supply chain and the users in the USA, etc., are as much to blame for the proliferation of this awful drug as those who sell it from all points south.
As with coke, there would be no suppliers of animal parts from Africa, etc., if there were not the Chinese millions waiting to buy them.
It may be too late for many of these marvellous creatures evolution graced mankind with. The black rhino is for all intents and purposes extinct, so are the other rhino species; gorillas and elephants are severely threatened, the list is long and saddening.
I was especially upset by the story of the Pangolin, the harmless and cute little anteater who lives in Africa and several other Asian countries.
Both its strength (where natural predators are concerned) and its weakness (where mankind is concerned) is the creatures pacifistic defence of rolling into a tight ball when threatened. The poachers just pick the Pangolin up like a beach-ball and pop it into a convenient mesh bag where it joins a box full of its fellows ready for export.
And imprisoned like this the poor benighted creature endures days of agonizing physical and mental duress during its shipment to China.
When I see this type of, ha, “inhuman” mindless cruelty and torture, it reminds me of a God in a Heaven who awaits in judgement of those who sin like this on Earth. If only I could really believe it; stoking the ovens of Hell for eternity is a barely adequate punishment, but would be some kind of closure.
Unfortunately, no one will pay for this abominable market and it will probably not end until the exploited species do, despite all the voices raised by animal rights advocates and even governments around the world, leave us forever.
It is taking quite an effort to rid us of the Pangolin, which is now the most trafficked creature on Earth! Chinese (and others) eat pangolin meat, grind it's scales up for homeopathic medicine (all declared useless by the world scientific community), and make tourist claptrap from these same scales. (a British king once received with delight in less enlightened days a full suit of armour made from pangolin scales, and garments are still made today). In fact, the pangolin has been persecuted by locals for years; it is the creature's popularity in modern China that is spelling its imminent demise.
The only creature on the planet completely covered in scales, Pangolins are also known as Trenggilings and Scaly Anteaters. There are several species, most are threatened. They can grow to about 40 inches in length, depending on species and sex (males are twice the size of the females). Their scales are an exceptionally tough defence made from Keratin, same as our fingernails, but much thicker and also sharp at the edges. Pangolin's armour can keep predators like Asiatic lions from eating them.
Their bear-like claws are so long the pangolin can't walk on them and folds them underneath its paws as it walks. The anteaters also have skunk-like glands near the anus which release a foul smelling liquid, as well as the ability to use their scaly tail as a club. Their diet does not require teeth and the pangolin has none, but swallows small pieces of gravel along with its insect diet in order to help with digestion.
These good diggers and swimmers are mainly nocturnal and require about 7 ounces of ants, etc., each 24 hours. They have extraordinary tongues which not only can be extended about 10 inches from the mouth, they also carry on inside into the stomach making this one of the longest tongues in the animal kingdom.
Unfortunately, pangolins don't do well in captivity, are nervous and shy and their diet is difficult to sustain by keepers. There are several in zoos around the world however, which may increase now the world spotlight is on their fate and they are better understood.
Something needs to be done NOW as more than 100,000 of the benighted creatures are being captured every year by poachers. This total makes the pangolin smuggling 40% of the illegal poaching market. It is so blatant in China with the meat being advertised in restaurants as well as the powder by quacks. Vietnam is also responsible for a large part of the illegal trade.
Perhaps we could learn from the pangolin! I mean, the males just urinate on a nearby bush and wait for the females to turn up! I like that gig – sure beats Plenty of Fish!