The Plight of the Pangolin
With their comical, almost prehistoric gait and long snuffling snouts, pangolins seem part dinosaur, part armadillo, part character from Disney Pixar's Ice Age. Weirdly, their closest relations are cats, dogs and bears... . We fell in love with these quirkly little creatures and they have become one of the stars of our new AW20 collection.
Into the Limelight...
A few years ago, you’d be forgiven for never having heard of the shy and gentle pangolin who can be found across Asia and southern Saharan Africa.
A couple of heart wrenching documentaries later, combined with the murmur that pangolins could have been responsible for transmitting Covid 19, and they have shot to the very forefront of our minds. And good thing too. The Pangolin is one of the most trafficked animals in the world - and the more we can educate ourselves and others about these characterful creatures, the more chance we have of saving them from extinction.
Pangolin scales are highly valued in Asia and are believed to have magical medicinal properties. The reality is, pangolin scales are simply made of Keratin, the same stuff as our own fingernails. Nothing magic about that. Pretty normal really. But tradition stubbornly digs it's heals in and pangolins continue to be trafficked at a horrifying rate.
"48 tonnes of pangolin scales were intercepted at border crossings last year"
Last year alone, 48 tonnes of smuggled pangolin scales were intercepted and it’s thought that this figure only represents 8-10% of the actual quantity traded.
"Pangolins are the only living mammal to be covered in scales"
When under threat, instead of running away, the pangolin rolls itself into a tight ball and becomes a solid mass of spiky scales. Its impenetrable suit of armour protects the pangolin from natural predators. Even leopards and tigers struggle to break through. But the sad irony is that this defence plays straight into the hands of poachers who simply pick up the pangolin and throw it into a sack. In this manner, pangolins are harvested at a devastating rate from their natural habitats.
And what of Covid?
It is thought that the speculated link between pangolins and the spread of covid 19 might actually prove to be the pangolins biggest blessing. It is thought that demand will plummet for any creature that may spread such a virus ... therefore providing the pangolin with a chance of living a free and undisturbed life. Clouds and silver linings spring to mind ....
Our Beatrice Endangered Animal dress features the pangolin in it's design. It's part of our Endangered species AW20 collection. We hope that by featuring some of the most endangered animals in our prints, we will raise awareness and trigger conversations about how and what we can do to protect and save animals from extinction.