Pangolin: World’s Most Trafficked Mammal | Borneo Jungle Diaries (S02E03) | SZtv


One week in to my jungle adventure and I can’t believe how much I’ve already done, and just how many incredible animals I’ve been lucky enough to see. Jungle life is going great and spending time with the scientists has been really eye opening. I just hope I can keep learning more about my home of Sabah. And today I am going to learn new things about a very special animal that needs our help! This bizarre looking creature is a pangolin. The only scaled mammal on Earth. Despite their armour plated exterior, pangolins are not as tough as they look. Worldwide, all pangolin species are being poached for their scales and meat. Despite no scientific proof, both products are highly prized for use in traditional medicine. As a result, pangolins are now thought to be the most trafficked mammal on the planet. It’s more important now than ever to tell the world about the plight of the pangolin. Alright, so what’s the plan for today? So, today we are going to the school, SK Paris 1. And then, we are having a pangolin education camp. Awesome. Let’s go meet some kids! My name is Elisa Panjang. I am a pangolin Biologist. At the moment I am leading a research project on pangolins. I am doing this education program with the students here to make them realize that it’s very important for them to co-exist with this wildlife. We tell them that habitat loss, fragmentation and poaching is real in this area. So education is very important. Here in Danau Girang we work very closely with the Sabah Wildlife Department. They rescue pangolins and then they surrender to us so that we can attach a tag and I will be able to study them. And then I release them in the forest, the next day when you go find the pangolin, to check the pangolin and then you see it. That feeling is very happy because I get to see a pangolin walking in the forest, very healthy – eating so it’s very good, for me it makes me really happy. I will continue to do research and unravel all these mysteries about pangolins. Eventually share all this interesting information so that many people will see that pangolin is an awesome animal. We should all care about pangolins. Elisa and the Danau Girang Team hold pangolin education camps all across Sabah. Working with children who live close to pangolin habitat in order to raise awareness about the plight of the pangolin in Borneo. Keeping it fun and engaging Elisa hopes to inspire future pangolin protectors. This is called a camera trap or in English “camera trap”. This is how it functions, if for pangolins, I would tie it on the knee area. Right now the students are learning how to set up camera traps just so they can experience what scientists do. Elisa can you tell me what is your purpose of doing this education camp? Education is very important. I mean a student needs to know a pangolin first before they love them. We inform them about pangolins especially about the ecology / biology. So that they know how the pangolin behaves in the forest and then what is the issue surrounding the pangolin. This is very, very important for them because, they are the future, so they are the ones who make the decision. So far, how do you think it’s working? Education takes time, but it’s very effective They will grow up knowing that pangolin is very important for the ecosystem, yeah. Can we all say: “We love pangolins?” We love pangolins! With the next generation of pangolin protectors thoroughly inspired we left the school and headed back to our jungle base camp. Which means it’s time for… Here’s an interesting fact about Borneo. The name pangolin comes from the Malay word “pengguling” which means “rolls up”. Because of the way a pangolin rolls up into a ball to protect itself. Over time the word has evolved to become “tenggiling”. Education and outreach are just one part of Elisa’s work here at the Danau Girang Field Centre. As the sun rose on another misty jungle morning, Elisa invited me out on a special mission to see what it takes to study wild pangolins. Alright, what are we doing today? So today we are going to track the pangolin with this VHF tracker. And then later after we find the signal we will download the data. A few weeks ago, Elisa received a pangolin that was rescued from captivity. After fitting it with a GPS tracker she released it back into the forest. Today our task is simple, find the pangolin, check its well-being and download the crucial movement data from the tracking device. Trekking through the heat and humidity of the rainforest, under the midday sun, it made me appreciate just how tough this sort of work truly is. After several hours our effort was rewarded. Did you pick something up on your radio? I hear a signal. The pangolin should be around here. Alex, come over here. You see? There is a pangolin behind those trees. Where? It’s over there. I’ve seen them a few times, and I never get bored seeing these pangolins. This is my first time seeing a pangolin in the wild. This is amazing. I am seeing all of these new animals I’ve never seen before. I feel like crying right now. Well you’re very lucky. I feel very lucky. It’s amazing how you get to be able to come into the school and talk about them to the students. And then come into the jungle and see pangolins and work with pangolins. What you’re doing is amazing. I can’t stress that enough. Thank you thank you very much. So Alex. Let’s go now. I think the pangolin looks fine. So we don’t want to disturb it. Ok Despite pangolin populations being threatened worldwide I feel hopeful for their future. Through both education and scientific research Elisa and the Danau Girang team are working tirelessly to give these bizarre and beautiful little creatures a fighting chance.

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