It’s World Pangolin Day on February 20th and Perth Zoo Vet Nurse, Cathy Cooper, hopes the day raises awareness for an amazing animal that many have not heard of.
People in my life know not to get me talking about pangolins because I can’t stop! They are unique in the animal kingdom. The only mammal covered in scales, they have a tongue longer than their body and sadly, they are the most trafficked mammal in the world.
Their scales are used in traditional medicines and they are valued as a luxury meat at restaurants in some countries. If this doesn’t stop, it will result in the pangolin’s extinction soon.
There are eight species of Pangolin found throughout Asia and Africa. Growing up in Singapore I knew of them but never managed to see one there. I was always keen to get involved with helping them in some way. So, when I heard that an orginisation called, Save Vietnams Wildlife, needed veterinary staff following the rescue of 200 animals I didn’t hesitate to reach out. The whole experience was life changing!
If they were to disappear their entire ecosystem would be heavily impacted. They turn the earth when looking for ants and this allows plant to grow. They are natures gardener.
We can help them by being aware of the products we purchase when travelling, avoid anything containing Pangolin parts. Take the time to learn about them and their plight so you can help raise awareness and support the conservation work to save them.
I am lucky enough to work with so many amazing species here at Perth Zoo, but for me the pangolin will always be magical.
Cathy Cooper- Veterinary Nurse