World Pangolin Day is observed annually on the third Saturday in February and takes place on February 18 this year. The day aims to celebrate pangolins, raise awareness and recommit international N.G.O.s to the fight against the global capturing of pangolins in Africa and Asia.
An estimated one million of these wonderful animals have been, and continue to be, harvested from the wild in African and Asian countries to meet the high demands for their scale, skin, blood, and even fetuses that are believed to have several different uses both in fashion, traditional medicine, and cooking.
History of World Pangolin Day
Each year, World Pangolin Day is observed annually to raise awareness and recommit international organizations to the fight against the global harvesting of pangolins. The only truly scaly mammals in the world.
The day is an opportunity for pangolin enthusiasts and the wider human community to join hands in raising awareness about the plight of these unique mammals — pangolin numbers are rapidly declining in Asia and Africa.
Pangolins are a highly prized commodity, often illegally trapped, trafficked, and killed for its scale by organized crime networks on a large scale to serve the need of the traditional medicine market in Asia where pangolin scales are unfortunately believed to be a cure-all of sorts and pangolin flesh is considered a delicacy.
In Vietnam and Central and the southern parts of West Africa, pangolins are often offered at restaurants catering to wealthy clients who consider their meat rare and a statement of status.
When frightened, a pangolin will curl up into a tight ball to protect its tender underside, making it a prime target for illegal poachers.
From 2016 to 2019, an estimated 206.4 tonnes of pangolin scales or an equivalent of about 360,000 pangolins were intercepted and confiscated from 52 seizures according to a report by the Wildlife Justice Commission — an international foundation set up in the Netherlands with the mission to disrupt and help dismantle organized transnational criminal wildlife trading networks.
World Pangolin Day timeline
In April 2013, 22,046 pounds of pangolin meat are seized from a Chinese vessel in the Philippines.
In November, the Zoological Society includes pangolins on London's list of evolutionarily distinct and endangered mammals.
Vietnam is outed as the main demand destination for pangolins.
Vietnam authorities seize the largest volumes of pangolin scales ever.
World Pangolin Day FAQs
What is pangolin medicine used for?
In Yorubic medicine of the Yoruba tribe in the West African country of Nigeria, traditional medicine prescribers use pangolin bones for treating strokes, back pain, and rheumatism. It is also sometimes used to treat mental illness.
Why is the pangolin important?
Pangolins play a critical role in their ecosystems by providing the earth with natural pest control. A single pangolin eats as much as 70 million insects per year which is important to keep soils aerated, tender and fertile.
What are the differences between a pangolin and an armadillo?
The pangolin and an armadillo are both mammals and eat ants. The pangolin is smaller than the armadillo, and both have an outer protective shell. The armadillo comes from Central and South America and the United States, while the pangolin hails from subtropical Africa and Southeast Asia.
How to Observe World Pangolin Day
Create pangolin art
Dedicated N.G.O.s across the globe are working in tandem to protect and preserve these unique animals by educating the local population on the risk of pangolins becoming extinct. One way we can help expand that as individuals is to create paintings, drawings, sculptures, or even tattoos that pique the curiosity of others within our community enough for them to commit to fighting the harvesting of pangolins from the wild and stop buying it.
Blog about pangolins
Another way to observe World Pangolin Day is to learn more about them and share what you’ve learned by writing. Heighten everyone’s sense of urgency. Help governments tighten their enforcement of laws against pangolin harvesting in places that have enforcement and inspire the need for it in countries that don’t.
Show your support on social media
Like yourself, ask people online to pledge to never consume pangolins in products or as food. Make them promise to help other people make an informed decision too. You might even reach out to influencers to seek their support to raise awareness and inspire action from the wider public. Use the hashtag #WorldPangolinDay.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Pangolins
Pangolins are the only scaly mammal
Pangolins are the only mammals on earth with scales, which is why they are in demand for their perceived usefulness in fashion, and for curing certain illnesses.
They help control the insect population
Pangolins play a very important role in the ecosystems by feeding on the insects necessary to keep soils aerated and fertile.
They are critically endangered
An estimated one million pangolins have been taken from the wild illegally in the past decade.
There are only eight species of pangolin
All eight species have been over-harvested and are critically endangered.
Pangolins and keratin
Their scales and claws are made of keratin.
Why World Pangolin Day is Important
To save pangolins from extinction
Pangolins are endangered animals. An estimated one million-plus pangolins have been taken from the wild illegally, prompting their inclusion into the Zoological Society of London's list of evolutionarily distinct and endangered mammals. If actions are not taken urgently, the earth might lose its only scaly mammal and soil aerator to the incessant cruelty of pangolin smugglers.
It saves the ecosystem
Pangolins provide the earth with natural pest control. It is said that a single pangolin eats as much as 70 million insects per year which is important to keep soils aerated, tender and fertile.
To educate us
Many more people need enlightening on the effect and risk of purchasing pangolins to eat or use as a cure for illnesses. One thing designating a day to observe and talk and renew our commitment to the fight against pangolin harvesting is that it shines more light on the cause. It makes people want to learn about this shy and wonderful animal and its plight.
World Pangolin Day dates