Happy World Pangolin Day from this mother pangolin and her baby, Opal! These unique looking mammals have tongues as long as their bodies, a prehensile tail, and no teeth! Though their scales may look like something out of a sci-fi movie, they’re actually made of the same material as our fingernails. In many traditional cultures, there is a highly misguided belief that these scales contain therapeutic properties, which has resulted in the poaching of millions of pangolins in the past decade. Now, with Asian pangolins becoming increasingly rare, smugglers have started to turn their attention to African pangolins. Despite being given the strongest international protections, smuggled scales from approximately 110,000 poached African pangolins have been seized just in the past year.
These incredible animals are now threatened with extinction, but thankfully many programs have been initiated to help save them. The two white-bellied tree pangolins (Phataginus tricuspis) pictured reside at @PangolinConservation in Florida, and belong to a collaborative conservation effort called the Pangolin Consortium, where they are also implementing projects to allow the public to engage in pangolin conservation. To find out more about how you can help save pangolins in the wild, click the links in the bios of @PangolinConservation and @VietnamWildlife!
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