Saving the world's most trafficked animal

Have you heard of the pangolin? And no it’s not a violin for penguins. A pangolin is actually a scaled armadillo-like animal and they are in need of help. They are the world’s most trafficked animal. Traffic means to trade something illegally. Some believe the pangolin’s scales hold healing powers and its leading to a decline in their population. So 183 governments have come together to ban trading pangolins. 

David McKenzie takes us to the Kalahari Desert in search of these special mammals. 

FOR A DESERT… THERE'S A SURPRISING AMOUNT OF WILDLIFE… BUT WHAT WE'RE AFTER, IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND… AND OUT HERE, IN THE VAST KALAHARI, ITS LIKE SEARCHING FOR A GHOST…

(Wendy Panaino, University of the Witwatersrand) "They are so quiet and so shy most of the time so you could drive past one and not even know it is there. You could walk past one and not even know it is there."

A RADIO TRACKER GIVES RESEARCHER WENDY PANAINO A FIGHTING CHANCE

(Wendy Panaino, University of the Witwatersrand) "Did you hear that?"

(David McKenzie, CNN Correspondent) "It's moving…"

(David McKenzie, CNN Correspondent) "We are listening for the tone of the tracker to go up. It means we are getting closer to the animal."

(Wendy Panaino, University of the Witwatersrand)"There he is."

SHE'S SEEN MORE WILD PANGOLINS THAN PERHAPS ANYONE…

(Wendy Panaino, University of the Witwatersrand)"Mmy heart is racing right now."

VERY LITTLE IS KNOWN ABOUT THESE CREATURES SHE KNOWS EVERY SIGHTING IS IMPORTANT. …WITH ITS TIGHTLY INTERLOCKING SCALES ACTING AS ARMOR, THE PANGOLIN HAS NO REAL EFFECTIVE PREDATORS IN THE WILD. BUT IT"S THE VERY SAME SCALES THAT MAKE ITTHE WORLD'S MOST TRAFFICKED ANIMAL… IN ASIA, PANGOLINS HAVE BEEN DECIMATED BY POACHING, WHERETHE SCALES ARE FALSY BELIEVED TO HAVE MEDICINAL BENEFITS

(Wendy Panaino, University of the Witwatersrand) "If we want to save them and do something about their numbers declining, understanding them gives us a chance." SO FAR, THE REMOTENESS OF THE KALAHARI HAS KEPT THIS POPULATION SAFE… BUT THE TRADE HAS ARRIVED IN AFRICA…

(Ray Jansen, African Pangolin Working Group) "The future for pangolins is looking incredibly bleak. If trafficking carries on the way it is not, they may have 20 to 25 years left to be on earth."

(Wendy Panaino, University of the Witwatersrand) "It's an absolutely tragic thing, they are so rare and so unique. I mean just look at that, look at that face."

THE TRAGEDY …KNOWING AN EXTRAORDINARY ANIMAL…COULD EASILY VANISH BEFORE ITS FULLY UNDERSTOOD.

Instructional Links

Magazine Article: Explora, Hopscotch, What Is a Pangolin, Dec2014/Jan2015

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mih&AN=99786592&site=src_ic-live&authtype=cookie,ip,custuid&custid=infohio

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Magazine Article: Explora, Fun For Kidz, 10 Wild Facts about 10 Wild Animals, May/June 2016

http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mih&AN=114321433&site=src_ic-live&authtype=cookie,ip,custuid&custid=infohio

May Need Password

Website: Save Pangolins

http://savepangolins.org/what-is-a-pangolin/

Website Article: World Wildlife Fund, Illegal Wildlife Trade

http://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/illegal-wildlife-trade

Website Article: U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Illegal Wildlife Trade

https://www.fws.gov/international/travel-and-trade/illegal-wildlife-trade.html

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