Speaking at the launch on July 29 at the Hanoi Pullman Hotel, WildAid officials said it would work with a network of thousands of media and other partners in China and Vietnam to distribute campaign messages to millions of people.
Among them are comedian and TV host Tran Thanh, Miss Universe Vietnam 2015 Pham Huong, singer Thu Minh, government representatives, diplomats, business owners, media partners and prominent members of the general public.
Our campaign will aim to have all eight species uplisted to the CITES Appendix I listing, said the WildAid officials.
A CITES Appendix I listing acknowledges that the species included in the list are threatened with extinction and either currently are or may be affected by trade; trade is subject to strict regulations, and only authorized in ‘exceptional circumstances.’
Pangolins are small mammals of the order Philodota, often referred to as ‘scaly anteaters’ for their defining physical trait – large, overlapping scales composed of keratin, the same proteins that make up human fingernails as well as rhino horns.
These scales serve as a pangolin’s primary defense from predators. When threatened, the animal curls up into a tight ball, with its scales serving as effective armor (the word pangolin comes from the Malay word pengguling, meaning ‘something that rolls up’).
There are eight pangolin species, four native to Asia – the Malayan, Chinese, Philippine, and Indian pangolins – and four native to Africa – the White-bellied, Black-bellied, Giant Ground, and Temminck’s Ground pangolins.
Unfortunately, demand for pangolin scales, as well as pangolin meat, has caused tens of thousands of pangolins to be poached every year. Some researchers say that pangolins are the most commonly trafficked mammal in the world, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Conservationists are highly concerned about the speed with which pangolins are being extirpated across their ranges. Indeed, rapid action is required to save these animals. In 2008, only two species of pangolin — the Malayan Pangolin Manis javanica and the Chinese Pangolin M. pentadactyla — were classified by IUCN as Endangered.
All of the species are now threatened with extinction: the Chinese and Malayan pangolins are now classified as Critically Endangered, the Indian and Philippine pangolins as Endangered, and all four African species as Vulnerable.
WildAid is a nongovernmental organization based out of San Francisco, California,
Its mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes. WildAid's strategy for achieving this goal is to reduce demand for these products using the slogan: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.