“Pangolin Men” Dedicate Their Lives To Save World’s Most Hunted Animal

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A pangolin is not a very well-known animal amongst the public, but it is the most trafficked animal in the world. It is a solitary, nocturnal species with a body covered in plate-like scales. They roll up into a little ball when threatened and they are the only mammal in the world covered in scales.

 

pangolin-zim-rescue-6Source: Telegraph

 

Pangolins are the most hunted animals in the world, because their scales are thought to have medicinal properties. It is estimated that over 100 000 of them are poached across Africa and Asia each year, with the majority shipped to China and Vietnam, where their scales and meat are sold. Due to this, all eight species of pangolin now feature on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of animals threatened with extinction.

 

pangolin-zim-rescue-7Source: Telegraph

 

The Tikki Hywood Trust is an NGO in Zimbabwe that aims to protect wild pangolins and other endangered species in the area. Their motto is: "Utilizing conservation and education as stepping stones towards a future where humans live in harmony with wildlife."

 

Adrian Steirn captured the undeniable bond of a group of individuals in Zimbabwe committed to saving the pangolin.

Want to add your voice to the cause? Share the film and visit Tikki Hywood Trust.

Watch more Beautiful News – http://bit.ly/BNPangolins

Posted by Beautiful News South Africa on Wednesday, 2 November 2016

 

Here, we find a group who call themselves the 'Pangolin Men', who commit their entire lives to saving wild pangolins. The men are assigned one pangolin each, whom they treat like their own child, walking them, feeding them and spending 24 hours a day together.

 

pangolin-zim-rescue-3Source: Adrian Steirn

 

Photographer Adrian Steirn traveled to Zimbabwe to document these heroes on their fight to save a species. He said:

 

They’re one of the most difficult animals to see and photograph in Africa – what’s often referred to as a ‘lifer’, a once in a lifetime sighting.

 

pangolin-zimbabwe-rescue-1Source: Adrian Steirn

 

His aim for the project was to get people to care and to get them asking questions. He wanted to portray the pangolin and the men who protect them in an empathetic way. The photographer chose positions that were unlike any seen before when photographing pangolins. He wanted to show the nature of the relationship between the animal and its minder.

 

pangolin-zim-rescue-2Source: Adrian Steirn

 

The Tikki Hywood Trust focuses on young or injured animals, rehabilitates them and feeds them until they reach a certain weight, and then releases them into the wild. Founder and CEO, Lisa Hywood, said:

 

We are involved in absolutely every step of the rehabilitation process with pangolins, right from investigations into poaching through to the release of rehabilitated animals.

 

2549d96e-4f52-404b-a8a7-54342bc75404Source: Adrian Steirn

 

As well as their fight to protect the world's most hunted animal, the Pangolin Men and the Trust have been pioneers in creating new legislation on the subject in Zimbabwe. They worked with judicial system to bring the law up to date. And the result was a success. Hywood continued:

 

Now Zimbabwe has the fourth highest penalty in Africa for pangolin poaching. In Zimbabwe if you’re found in illegal possession of a pangolin it’s a US $5000 fine and a nine-year jail term.

 

pangolin-zim-rescue-5Source: Adrian Steirn

 

Patrick Mavros, a luxury goods brand based in London and Harare, has also joined the fight. They have just released a line of pangolin-inspired jewelery, and 10% of all sales will be donated to the Tikky Hywood Trust.

 

Hywood hopes that the jewelery collection along with the beautiful portraits will raise awareness about the gentle, threatened creature's status on endangered lists and activate people to help save them.

 

pangolin-rescue-zim-4Source: Adrian Steirn

 

To shop the jewelery and portraits collection online, visit www.patrickmavros.com. And to see more of Adrian Steirn's incredible photographs, head to his Instagram page. You can also make a donation to the trust, helping them save more and more pangolins each day.

 

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