If you’ve never heard of a pangolin before, you’re not alone!
Some say pangolins look like pinecones, anteaters or even artichokes, but they’re actually mammals that live mostly in Africa and Asia. Pangolins are completely covered in scales that are made of keratin, the same fibrous protein as our fingernails and hair. Some other fun facts: they curl into little balls to protect themselves from danger, they have really long tongues for ant-eating and baby pangolins ride on their mothers’ tails. Cute, right?
Here’s the sad part: Pangolins are disappearing because of humans. In some parts of the world, people fantasize that the scales have healing powers to cure everything from cancer to kleptomania. Unfortunately, the myth persists even though it has been proven the scales provide no medicinal value. It's essentially the same idea as relying on fingernail biting to cure diseases. Pangolins are also considered a delicacy in certain areas. The meat is chopped into fried rice, the blood is sipped in drinks and the fetuses are turned into soups.
Since pangolins are such unique and mysterious creatures many people don't even know they exist. And unfortunately, if humans keep hunting them into history, many never will. One thing we can all do is use our voices to tell everyone why we love pangolins and how much they need our help.