Pangolins are the new celebrity in the endangered species world. You may know Pangolins better as Sandslash from your Pokémon adventure days. Real Pangolins like to adventure through Africa and tropical areas of Asia. They hobble around like old ladies and use their crazy big claws to dig up ant colonies, which they then use their crazy big tongue to eat the ants. But sadly the days of Pangolin adventure are nearing a close if something isn’t done soon.
Somewhere in Vietnam
Pangolins are like scaly anteaters. They aren’t in the same family, nor do they specifically eat ants (termites are very yummy to the Pangolin as well). Their tongues are so long that the muscle actually attaches to their pelvises. Because they have no teeth to break down food before they swallow, the Pangolin ingests small rocks to mash up their meals in their stomach. They certainly are a peculiar animal.
Their meat is considered a delicacy and their scales are believed to have medicinal value (they don’t). Pangolins are also easy to poach. Their defensive maneuver is to curl up in a ball, using their scales to protect them. This may work fine against some big cat with claws, but for people, it makes hunting them all the easier. Unlike the rhino or the elephant, or almost anything else that is the target of a hunting adventure, which you have to shoot on site or capture against resistance, all you have to do with the Pangolin is pick one up.
The Pangolins in China are practically non-existent. Because of the rising wealth in China, everybody wants some of that yummy pangolin meat. It’s not so much that it’s a delicacy, it’s that Pangolin is now illegal. People always want what they can’t have. If we’re not careful, you can look high and low around the world, and there won’t be a single Pangolin to find. And that would be a shame. Not only is it the responsibility of humans to act as guardians of Earth, to nurture and maintain all life on our planet, but Pangolins are also so darn cute and we shouldn’t let them disappear from the map forever.