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Ground Pangolin © Keith Connelly

Ground Pangolin © Keith Connelly

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TRAFFIC's work to protect Pangolins

Pangolins are thought to be the most trafficked mammal in the world, snatched from the wild due to demand for their scales which are mistakenly thought to have medicinal properties in traditional medicine. All eight species are at risk, six at imminent threat of extinction.

These shy, fascinating creatures are the only mammals which are covered in scales. When they are scared, they roll into a ball - effective against natural predators but easy picking for poachers.

Learn more about our work to protect pangolins.

Raise awareness with us – explore and share our latest pangolin resources below!

The Astounding Secret Pangolin animation

Have you had the joy of discovering the pangolin yet? This short animation takes viewers through descriptions of the pangolin’s one-of-a-kind features and behaviour, the threat of poachers in the forest, and the call for “someone bold and someone caring” to make the forest safe again. Learn how a pangolin’s scales are both its protective armour and its vulnerability, when along comes a hunter “not with fang and claw."

From left: Mary Hays, Jeanette Ward, and Eleanor Hays. 
Image by Neale Hays

The animation is based on the picture book of the same name by UK-based illustrator Jeanette Ward and author and book designer Mary Hays, and narrated by Eleanor Hays. The story was brought to life by Malaysia-based animator, Faril Izzadi.

"In 2016 I was looking for an idea for a children’s story when I came across a Cambridge Museum of Zoology fact sheet on Pangolins. Astonished that I’d never heard of this extraordinary mammal I wondered how to tell the pangolin's, in some respects, devastating story specifically to children. It needed to be both factual and endearing, and I knew Jeanette would be the perfect illustrator for the task. Her attention to detail and sensitive, empathetic approach has perfectly conveyed both the unique charm of these creatures and their precarious situation. It's fantastic to see our collaboration brought even further to life with Faril’s gentle animation."

Mary Hays, Author and Book Designer

"I loved developing the pangolin characters for Mary’s beautifully written and engaging story. It's wonderful working with TRAFFIC and to play our part in helping young people understand just how important and astounding pangolins really are.” 

Jeanette Ward, Illustrator

"The collaboration was such a gift because I had Jeanette and Mary's incredible story and illustrations as the basis. My contribution was to make things move and allowing the pangolin to come alive. This project perfectly combines my passions for art and wildlife - I feel fortunate to have had this opportunity and hope this animation can bring us a step closer to saving pangolins."

Faril Izzadi, Animator

Find accompanying children’s activities and teaching resources here

Find accompanying children’s activities and teaching resources here
Find accompanying children’s activities and teaching resources here
Find accompanying children’s activities and teaching resources here
Find accompanying children’s activities and teaching resources here

Pangolin Printing Art Lesson

The Plight of Pangolins

Watch Sir David Attenborough reflect on the importance of protecting these endearing, but endangered animals. Produced in partnership with Cambridge Conservation Initiativeread more on this story.

Chinese Vietnamese Thai Bahasa

The latest stats

These numbers only represent a fraction of the trade; where some events record the contraband by weight, others go by number of specimens, and some give no quantitative data. It should also be noted that while seizure data is a vital source of information, it should not be inferred that there is a direct correlation between seizures and the overall illegal wildlife trade or that information across locations, species or time is consistent.

There are eight species known to science – four in Asia and four in Africa – six of them are Endangered or Critically Endangered. However, in 2023 a ninth species was revealed following DNA analysis of scales that had been seized as contraband: shockingly, poachers have been hunting this species to extinction before it was even known to science.

Donate today and support our work tracking smuggling, supporting enforcement efforts, and reducing consumer demand for pangolins.

Raise awareness with us – explore and share our latest pangolin resources!

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Did you enjoy our pangolin content?

Explore how we’re extending our care to other threatened species in need.