Target: Tshekedi Khama II, Minister of Environment, Wildlife, and Tourism (Botswana)
Goal: End the slaughter of the African species of pangolin before they become endangered, like their Asian counterparts.
The African pangolin, an innocent, scale-covered ant eater, is being hunted to extinction because practitioners of traditional African and Chinese medicine believe that the animals’ scales have special healing capabilities. In addition, their meat is used as a delicacy in both continents.
The animals have no healing powers, despite the legend surrounding them. Their scales are nothing more than keratin, which is what makes up human fingernails. Despite scientific evidence proving that the animals have no healing abilities, smugglers have obtained tens of thousands of tons of their scales in 2016 alone.
There have been some strides in the protection of this animal. Its endangered status in Asia has led to a ban on its trade and criminal offenses for anyone found murdering or consuming the animal in China. However, they are still being hunted in Africa, and because only the Asian species are endangered, smugglers have found a loophole in which they can use the African species in place of the Asian. More must be done to protect this animal. Sign the petition to demand that the government of Botswana, a nation that supports the habitats of the pangolins, enact tougher regulations for the protection of the animal.
Dear Minister Khama,
The pangolin is a unique African animal. However, its numbers are shrinking because they are being hunted for their keratin scales. These scales are being used for medicinal purposes, while their meat is eaten as a delicacy in both African nations and Asian countries. Because of this, they may become endangered, and potentially extinct, in your continent.
The Asian species is already endangered and its murder, trade, and consumption is banned. However, such regulations do not exist for the African species. As a result, it has been smuggled into Asian nations. I ask that your government take steps to protect the animal, so that hopefully other nations follow suit and the pangolin can be saved before ever reaching the endangered species list.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Wildlife Alliance