This week the Pigments by Liv Pangolin collection was launched, and its mission is to support Pangolin Conservation. Why? Pangolins are the most trafficked mammals in the world, but nobody has ever heard of them!
*Header image courtesy of Francois Meyer, Limpopo Province field manager for the African Pangolin Working Group
In a survey of 2000 people from the UK, only 8% of people were able to successfully identify a Pangolin. When I told people the next Pigments by Liv animal collection was going to be a Pangolin, the majority asked me “What’s that?”. Even when I showed them my drawing, they thought it was some form of Armadillo or Anteater!
Pangolins are trafficked mainly for their scales. Just like Rhinos and Tigers, their scales are used in African and Chinese medicine as they are believed to treat many ailments, such as skin diseases, palsy or arthritis. Of course, none of these treatments is backed up by scientific evidence!
Also, like shark fins, their meat is considered a luxury and a symbol of high status. Alongside habitat loss and perilous electric fencing, 4/8 species of Pangolin are critically endangered. The other 4 species are listed as vulnerable. Raising awareness of Pangolin Conservation is how we can save this unique species on a global scale.
What is a Pangolin animal?
Although they may look like an Armadillo, Pangolins (Pholidota) are more closely related to bears, cats and dogs. Some species plod along using two legs, whilst others climb trees! They are also the only mammal to have scales.
The scales are made of keratin, which is also found in our fingernails and hair. That means biting your nails or chewing your hair is as effective for treating Palsy as Pangolin scales are. Just saying.
Pangolins use their long snouts and tongues to harvest termite and ant mounds. When Pangolin babies are born they spend the first few months of their life riding around on their mother’s tails. How could anyone ever harm such a loveable species?!
Top 5 Pangolin Facts
- There are eight species of Pangolin: Chinese pangolin (CR), Indian pangolin (EN), Sunda pangolin (CR), Philippine pangolin (CR), White-bellied pangolin (EN), Black-bellied pangolin, Giant pangolin (EN) and Temminck’s pangolin (EN).
- When threatened, Pangolins curl up into a ball, like a hedgehog, and admit a foul smell from their anal glands, like a skunk! Which works well against natural predators like Lions.
- They eat up to 70 million insects a year, so are natural pest controllers.
- They are actually descended from carnivores!
- Pangolins are incredibly difficult to breed I captivity because of their sensitivity to stress, specialized diets and week immune systems, which is why you won’t see them in zoos.
For more Pangolin facts, download WildAid’s Pangolins on the Brink.
A Design to raise awareness of pangolins
Raising awareness is one of the first, and most significant steps, we can take to support Pangolins and Pangolin conservation. Without knowledge, we can’t act and this species needs action on a global scale. This is why the Pigments by Liv Pangolin Collection was designed to raise awareness.
There are several ways Pangolin awareness is manifested in the design. Rather than opting for a more subtle “pocket” design, the Pangolin drawing is stretched across your chest. This way, the animal is much more noticeable and draws attention, and therefore prompt questions about Pangolins.
Secondly, I added some text just below the sketch. I like the way the text makes the items have more of a vintage and fashionable feel, especially when it comes to a timeless graphic tee. Let’s admit it, you’re more likely to wear an animal conservation t-shirt if it looks good too!
Finally, the text itself helps raise awareness of Pangolins. By including their name and it’s pronunciation there is no confusion. Since Pangolins are lesser-known, a motif similar to the “Save the Tubby Unicorns” design would not be as effective in spreading the message.
Now that you are one of the 8% that knows about Pangolins and the threats they face; you can help save them! I hope you love the collection as much as I do.
Why is Pangolin Conservation important?
If Pangolins tragically disappeared tomorrow, what would happen? Pangolins, like all animals, are incredibly important to their ecosystems. They are fantastic natural gardeners! When they burrow using their long claws, they help aerate the soil, which aids natural decomposition. Keeping plants and crops happy.
An individual Pangolin will eat 70 million insects a year. These natural pest-controllers save billions of dollars annually by preventing infestations and termite damage to local buildings. Pesticides and insecticides cause havoc in the natural world, let’s replace them with Pangolins!
Supporting Pangolin Conservation
The Pigments by Liv Pangolin Collection does more than just raise awareness of these beautiful creatures. It directly helps to support their conservation. 10% of all sales from the Pangolin Collection are donated to the African Pangolin Working Group.