Home Conservation Fighting Wildlife Crime Through Their Eyes – Pangolins

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) invites you to experience the daily threat facing the world’s most trafficked mammal. That at any moment, they could be taken from the wild, only to be butchered as bush meat, kept caged in a wet market, or killed to supply the illegal wildlife trade with their scales.

Pangolins are powerless to fight this threat. We are not.

DSWF, with the generous support of our digital partners at StrategiQ, have harnessed the power of AI to uniquely enable you to see ‘through their eyes’.

The video contains scenes that some may find uncomfortable and a suggestion of threat, so viewer discretion is advised.

Through Their Eyes – Pangolins

All eight species of pangolin are listed on the IUCN’s Red List of endangered species. With the four species found in Asia now considered critically endangered, the illegal wildlife trade has turned to the equally threatened African species (where they are also prized as bushmeat) to supply the unsustainable demand for pangolin scales – which are used in unsubstantiated medical practices across Asia, but most commonly in China and Vietnam.

Pangolin scales are made up of keratin, the same material that makes up fingernails. But that doesn’t stop them being considered a vital component of Traditional Chinese Medicine and therefore a much in-demand material for the illegal wildlife trade.

Despite all pangolin species being protected by a worldwide ban in their trade, worrying new trends are constantly adding to the threats they face. This includes their meat now being considered a delicacy in the Middle East, and renewed demand for live pangolins in Asian wet markets.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
James Kydd

Using AI for the power of good

As a Wildlife Foundation with its roots in the art world, and with our creative community being incredibly important to us, we understand that the use of AI is a controversial one. However, used in this context – as a tool that enables us to see ‘through their eyes’ – offers us a unique perspective it would be impossible to capture through traditional methods.

To add further context, we have gone to great lengths to use imagery and content owned, submitted, or provided with permission to DSWF.

What DSWF is doing to help

Pangolins are incredibly shy and elusive. We know so little about them that keeping them in captivity is rarely successful. Populations are clearly in dramatic decline as demand for their scales and meat continues to increase, to such a point that we cannot determine how many are left – and when new populations are discovered, they are often already being compromised or restricted to isolated areas.

In Kenya, the subdivision of land is a deadly threat, as electric fences put up to define community boundaries and private land frequently kill pangolins. Unfortunately, in these situations, the pangolin’s natural defence to roll up into a ball is fatal – as it stays connected to the fence. Or, as they try to back out, their scales catch on to the fence and trap them.

DSWF is working with local landowners, other NGOs, and local authorities through education and awareness programmes to safeguard pangolins, by reducing the reliance on electric fences and reducing demand for their meat.

We also campaign at international level to increase protections for pangolins and ensure criminals exploiting these animals are brought to justice. You can find out more here.

What you can do to help

With your donations DSWF can:

  • Support demand reduction campaigns around the worldwide consumption and use of pangolin scales, meat, and parts
  • Fund and drive public awareness campaigns just like this one to ensure myths around the medicinal benefits of pangolin products are discredited
  • Equip, fund, and support anti-poaching and anti-trafficking operations to ensure criminal groups are apprehended in Africa and Asia
  • Deliver materials and support for training workshops in Africa, ensuring the correct law enforcement, , and prosecution processes are in place
  • Provide educational materials and school workshops on the importance of pangolin protection and the implications and risks associated with pangolin poaching

Help DSWF safeguard the future of pangolins by adopting or donating on their behalf today.

Donate to support pangolins here.

Adopt Marimba, our pangolin ambassador, here.

Donate to support DSWF here.

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

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All donations will help us continue our vital work conservation work to protect endangered species and turn the tide on extinction.

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