Tipping the scales in favor of pangolins

Local | Georgina Noyce 14 Jul 2020

Sheltering under a tree, watching raindrops plink on to the surface of the water, I was mesmerized as the rain fell faster and what had been a sprinkle with barely noticeable ripples turned into a torrent of drops.

It fell so fast the ripples seemed to merge faster than the brain can record and the delicate "plink plink" as water met water turned into a rhythmic shushing sound.

It only takes one to make a change, like ripples on the surface of water; whether it is the shy woman down the street who feeds and cares for the colony of stray cats; or the poacher-turned-game-warden who comes to realize how amazing an elephant is roaming naturally across its ancestral lands, rather than dying in agony for its tusks to make fancy gewgaws for the mindless.

Or the NGOs that work on their own governments like ripples spreading across a lake to show the right way to go.

As a child, reading about scaly and spiny anteaters, now known as pangolins and echidnas, it seemed impossible that such fascinating and inoffensive animals would be driven to the point of extinction because of depredation by humans. Those tiny ripples, however, have recently expanded as Animal Wellness Action (https://animalwellnessaction.org/) which is just one of many who worked toward having pangolins officially protected.

With powerful countries such as China and the US adding to a growing list of countries that make it clear that pangolins have no provable medicinal value, NGOs across the world plan to keep the movement going to protect what has become the world's most trafficked animal.

It is understandable that hundreds of years ago so many nocturnal, non-predator animals were considered food sources. After all, nature designed the world to balance its diverse species. What is not understandable is why humans thought absorbing the scales of this inoffensive mammal would have any physical affect on humans.

After all, pangolin scales are made of the same stuff as our toe nails!

We can each add to the ripples of change by sharing knowledge and supporting those with the ability to reach others with more power; so that like the water that receives tiny drops of rain, then ripples it out to merge and spread, rare and harmless creatures can have their chance to live on our amazing planet.

Georgina Noyce is an equestrian judge, and has a menagerie of adopted four-legged waifs and strays.


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