Adopt a Pangolin

A million pangolins are believed to have been illegally trafficked in the last decade and all eight species of pangolins are now threatened with extinction.

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world. These reclusive, gentle creatures have one main defence mechanism – to roll up into a ball, so their armour-like scales can protect them. Unfortunately, not only does this make them easy for poachers and hunters to pick up and approach, but it is these scales that make them a target in the first place. 

Pangolin scales are used in ancient, unethical medicines, despite having been proven to have no health benefits. The scales are formed of keratin – the same protein that makes up human fingernails. On top of this, their skins are in high demand across the Americas, where they are made into leather goods such as boots, belts, and bags. Their meat is also, unfortunately, considered a delicacy. 

There are eight species of pangolin found across Africa and Asia. As demand for pangolins has decimated the four Asiatic species, the remaining four across Africa are now also being exploited to meet insatiable human greed. Every species of pangolin is therefore listed as either vulnerable or critically endangered. 

But you can help protect them. If you ever see pangolin products offered for sale, report it here. And you can help them directly through pangolin adoption with DSWF. When you choose to sponsor a pangolin, you directly fund the vital projects we support, putting rangers on the ground and providing them with the necessary equipment to combat wildlife crime. 

How your adoption could help pangolins

  • Just £3 per month (or £36 per year) could equip rangers with vital equipment and skills needed to carry out anti-poaching patrols across the Greater Mara Region, Kenya.
  • Only £5 per month (or £47 per year) could engage with local government to ensure that pangolin populations in Vietnam are given the greatest protection possible.
  • £10 per month (or £60 per year) could help fight for the strongest possible laws/policies to combat the illegal trade of pangolins.

What’s Included?

  • Adoption Pack: You’ll get a personalised certificate, a species fact sheet and animal bio sheet, a photograph and a copy of our latest Wildlife Matters magazine.
  • Pangolin Print: A beautiful, sketched print of a pangolin by an incredible wildlife artist, David Filer.
  • Pangolin Toy: Optional hand-knitted pangolin toy made by Little Ndaba, a women’s community group in Zambia 

Our adoption packs are only available to be posted within the UK. Alternatively you can opt to receive a digital adoption pack via sent email (print and toy not included).

Threats to the pangolin population 

Illegal Poaching 

Pangolin scales are highly prized in Chinese medicine, but also in other markets such as Vietnam. As this demand has reduced number of pangolins across Asia, poachers are now turning to African pangolins to continue to supply these markets. Despite China giving pangolins the highest level of possible protection, and banning consumption, a black market for these products still thrives. 

Illegal Hunting

Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy across its range, and they are often sought by bushmeat hunters, either to sell on or for direct consumption. 

Secretive Nature

Pangolins are mainly nocturnal and highly elusive – so studying their behaviour and populations is extremely difficult, marred even further by their decline. As we know so little about them, it is nearly impossible to sustain a captive breeding programme or keep them appropriately in zoological collections. This means that the pangolins in the wild are the ones we must ultimately protect.

How Pangolin Adoption Helps

Sponsoring a pangolin helps fund projects working with local communities to monitor their movements, reduce poaching, and raise awareness of the threats they face. In addition, your support can help us:  

  • Fight the illegal wildlife trade in pangolin scales and bushmeat, as we support special investigation teams in Asia, Africa, and the Americas 
  • Protect pangolins and their habitat by supporting on-the-ground ranger patrols and providing them with the vital equipment they need 
  • Engage communities through school programmes and outreach to protect native pangolins in their home range, and educate consumer countries to dispel myths associated with traditional medicine 

Meet our Pangolin species ambassador, Marimba

Adopt a pangolin
Image credit: Gareth Thomas

Marimba, is a ground pangolin from Africa, otherwise known as the Temminck’s pangolin.

He is nocturnal and has an insectivorous diet, strictly feeding on ants and termites. He can consume up to 70 million insects per year!

Marimba, like all pangolins, is covered in overlapping armour-like scales and when she is threatened, he will curl up into a protective ball using his strong keratin scales to protect himself.

By adopting Marimba, you can help us put an end to the illegal wildlife trade so that pangolins can continue to thrive across Africa and Asia.

Why your adoption is so important

This enigmatic scaly ant-eating mammal has been ‘thrown onto the scales’ in the past few years due to its links to the Covid-19 pandemic. Up until recently the pangolin has been a relatively unknown species despite being the most trafficked mammal in the world.

Your adoption helps us to support our ground-based conservation partners in Africa to prevent pangolin poaching by funding law enforcement efforts and keeping rangers in the field. Simultaneously, your adoption helps us fund large-scale reduction campaigns in Asia to reduce demand for pangolins scales and debunk myths around the medicinal benefits of pangolin products, whilst protecting them on the ground through research and monitoring programmes.

We aim to dispatch all orders within 7 working days. Parcels are sent 2nd class untracked with Royal Mail. International delivery is unavailable.