Talking Pangolins with Wildlife Conservationist Jeff Flocken

Talking Pangolins with Wildlife Conservationist Jeff Flocken

Did you know that director Jon Favreau, the creative mind behind Disney’s “The Jungle Book”, thinks that pangolins are some of the most fascinating creatures on the planet? You may not even be aware of what a pangolin is, but you’ll encounter one in this movie, providing comic relief in a scene with the beloved character, Baloo.

During a recent trip to Los Angeles for the #JungleBookEvent, we had the opportunity to learn more about the critically endangered pangolin. Jeffrey Flocken, the North American Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), was there to educate us about these rare animals, why they are so endangered, and how we can contribute to their conservation and protection.

The Intriguing Pangolin: What You Need to Know

The pangolin is an extraordinary and little-known mammal. Unique to their taxonomy branch, they have no close relatives. They are under enormous pressure due to wildlife trade, both legal and illegal, which has pushed them to the brink of extinction.

Why are Pangolins Critically Endangered?

Pangolins are critically endangered due to their meat and scales. In China and other parts of Asia, their meat is considered a delicacy. Their scales, on the other hand, are ground up and used in traditional Asian medicines, and can also be found in items such as belts and boots.

Six Key Facts about Pangolins

  1. There are eight different species of pangolins. Four in Asia and four in Africa.
  2. Pangolins are so endangered that they may become extinct in our lifetime unless we take action to prevent it.
  3. Being solitary, nocturnal animals, not much is known about pangolins or their actual numbers in the wild.
  4. No successful breeding program has been established for pangolins in captivity.
  5. It’s nearly impossible to keep pangolins alive once they’ve been taken from the wild.
  6. The only zoo in North America that currently houses a pangolin is the San Diego Zoo.
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The Fight to Protect Pangolins

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is working tirelessly to establish protections for pangolins to halt their legal trade, which would also help curb illegal trade. On March 16th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued their 90-day finding on the pangolin petition. This positive finding means that a full process will be undertaken to determine if pangolins warrant “Endangered” protection. IFAW is also requesting public support for a petition aimed at protecting pangolins. For more information on how you can contribute to protecting the pangolins, check out this page.

Remember to spot the pangolin in Disney’s The Jungle Book, out now!

As we delve deeper into the plight of the pangolin, it’s clear that these creatures are under significant threat due to wildlife trade. With the insights from wildlife conservationist Jeff Flocken, we can better understand the urgency of their situation and what needs to be done to ensure their survival.

| Facts About Pangolins | Details |
|———————-|——–|
| What is a Pangolin? | Pangolins are unique mammals with no close relatives. They are under tremendous pressure due to illegal wildlife trade. |
| Why are they endangered? | Their meat is considered a delicacy in Asia, especially in China. Their scales are used in traditional Asian medicines and can also be found in belts and boots. |
| Number of species | There are eight different species of Pangolins. Four in Asia and Four in Africa |
| Risk of Extinction | Pangolins are so endangered, they are very likely to become extinct in our lifetime unless we do something to prevent it. |
| Habits | Pangolins are solitary, nocturnal animals…so not much is known about them or how many are truly left in the wild. |
| Breeding in Captivity | There has never been a successful breeding program in captivity. It’s almost impossible to keep them alive once they’ve been taken from the wild. |
| Zoo Housing | The only zoo in North America to currently house a pangolin is the San Diego Zoo. |
| Conservation efforts | International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is working to set up protection so that the animals can no longer be traded legally, which will also help stop the illegal trade. |
| Movie Appearance | A pangolin character is included in Disney’s “The Jungle Book” directed by Jon Favreau. |

Understanding the Pangolin: A Closer Look

Often referred to as the “scaly anteater,” the pangolin is a unique creature that is sadly on the brink of extinction. These mammals are covered in hard, protective scales made of keratin – the same material our hair and nails are made from. When threatened, they curl up into a ball, using these scales as a defensive shield.

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Most pangolins are nocturnal and have a diet primarily consisting of ants and termites which they catch using their long, sticky tongues. They have strong claws used for digging into ant and termite mounds, and for climbing.

The Pangolin’s Current State: A Critical Situation

According to wildlife conservationist Jeff Flocken, the pangolin is the most heavily trafficked wild mammal in the world, with over a million believed to have been snatched from the wild in the past decade alone. Rampant poaching for their meat and scales has led to a catastrophic decline in their numbers, pushing them towards the edge of extinction.

The Role of Wildlife Conservationists

Wildlife conservationists like Jeff Flocken and organizations like IFAW are at the forefront of the fight to protect pangolins. Their efforts involve raising awareness about the plight of these creatures, advocating for stronger laws and enforcement against wildlife trade, and working with local communities to protect pangolin habitats.

Jeff Flocken: A Champion for Pangolins

Jeff Flocken is a leading figure in the field of wildlife conservation. As the North American Regional Director for IFAW, his work involves influencing policy and legislation to protect animals and their habitats. He has been instrumental in pushing for greater protections for pangolins, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Why Should We Care About Pangolins?

Pangolins play a crucial role in their ecosystems. By feeding on ants and termites, they help control pest populations, maintaining a balance in nature. Their burrowing habits also aid in nutrient mixing in the soil, promoting plant growth. The loss of pangolins could therefore have far-reaching impacts on their ecosystems.

How Can We Help Protect Pangolins?

There are several ways we can contribute to the conservation of pangolins. One of the most effective ways is by supporting organizations like IFAW that are working to protect these creatures. We can also help by raising awareness about the plight of pangolins, advocating for stronger wildlife protection laws, and making conscious choices to avoid products made from pangolin scales or meat.

FAQs about Pangolins

What’s the lifespan of a pangolin?
Pangolins can live up to 20 years in the wild.

How big can a pangolin get?
Depending on the species, pangolins can range from 30 cm to 100 cm in length.

Why are pangolins unique?
Pangolins are the only mammals covered in scales. They also have no teeth, relying on their sticky tongue to catch their prey.

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Are pangolins aggressive?
Pangolins are generally shy and non-aggressive. When threatened, they curl up into a ball rather than attacking.

In conclusion, pangolins are fascinating creatures that are sadly under threat due to wildlife trade. With the insights from wildlife conservationist Jeff Flocken, we can better understand the urgency of their situation and what needs to be done to ensure their survival. Let’s all do our part to protect these unique creatures and the vital role they play in our world’s ecosystems.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pangolins

What is a pangolin?

A pangolin is a unique mammal that has no close relatives. It’s known for its extraordinary appearance and behavior. The pangolin is also the most trafficked mammal in the world, leading to its status as critically endangered.

Why are pangolins critically endangered?

Pangolins are critically endangered due to the high demand for their meat and scales. Their meat is considered a delicacy in China and other parts of Asia. The scales are used in traditional Asian medicines and also for fashion accessories.

How many species of pangolins are there?

There are eight different species of pangolins, four in Asia and four in Africa.

Can pangolins be bred in captivity?

No successful breeding program has been established for pangolins in captivity. This makes it even more difficult to increase their population size.

Are there any pangolins in zoos?

The San Diego Zoo is the only zoo in North America that currently houses a pangolin.

What is being done to protect pangolins?

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is working to establish protections for pangolins to halt their legal trade. They are also requesting public support for a petition aimed at protecting pangolins.

Table: Key Facts about Pangolins

Fact Description
Species Eight species exist, four in Asia and four in Africa
Endangerment Status They are critically endangered and may become extinct in our lifetime
Characteristics Solitary, nocturnal animals with little known about their behavior or actual numbers in the wild
Captivity Breeding No successful breeding program exists in captivity
Zoo Presence The San Diego Zoo is the only zoo in North America that houses a pangolin

Table: Threats to Pangolins

Threat Description
Meat Consumption Their meat is considered a delicacy in China and parts of Asia
Scale Usage Their scales are used in traditional Asian medicines and fashion accessories
Wildlife Trade They are under enormous pressure due to both legal and illegal wildlife trade

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