Many readers will know better thanthe author that the forests of SE Asia and all that comprise them from the bacteria, in the ground, to the plants and animals from tiny to giant size remain under threat, with many species still becoming extinct.
The International Year of the Forests gives those of us who care, a platform to advance nature conservation and for purposes of promotion nothing comes near a charismatic animal, like a beautiful Tiger or the Giant Panda for attracting sympathetic attention.
Usually cuddly, furry animals are best even if they are potential man eaters but the hard skinned Pangolin is very attractive in the way it moves and eats. Pangolin toys are also quite a hit with children it seems. And the sad plight of the Pangolin resulting from forest clearing and the so-called medicinal properties, which I guess are no more than superstition, highlights the destruction of the forest in general. The lesson may be – if we save the Pangolin – we save the forest.
I would hope the ASEAN countries, very much once a Pangolin land, could give a lead and I think that rather than dry scientific argument, or even photographs of Pangolins, presenting a lively cartoon character, which speaks the languages of people will be immediately attractive. It can be a way of having children persuade their elders to keep the animal’s habitat and reject the so-called traditional remedies from Pangolin skins to Bear bile.
So it seems to me we need some talented people who work in animation to do a short animation of a Pangolin character to present th idea and we need to find volunteers to work quickly.
I personally do not have any contacts in this field nor do I directly work on animal conservation but I thought some of your supporters would have the skills needed and might be prepared to volunteer.
We would also need some organisation which has established international and government links to notionally the project. Perhaps the IUCN or WWF? I suspect readers might have ideas about this.
In a sense the Year of the Forest is like the Global Warming issue. Forest conservation is crucial to almost every individual conservation issue and a failure there means a failure every where. The lesson I draw is that, just as we all must set aside some of our work time to work to combat global warming, so must we in this year work on forest conservation.
The matter of finance also is relevant as some money may be needed initially to seed the project until it, hopefully, gets ASEAN & UN sponsorship. you may have ideas about this. One thought is that companies which make toy Pangolins could very well be interested.
Please pass these thoughts around among your contacts and let us see if we can get some action.
Suggestions for a scenario:
I suggest it would be great to get a cartoon made with a pandolin being asked questions like “What is a forest?” etc. Answer My Home if you don’t mind!
If he is a Thai he could be called Panlop the Pandolin ( I have a friend Panlop). He could put trees into perspective: “The deader the better – so yummy termites can eat them”
Living trees – “Well ok… They give nice shade and conserve moisture – and without moisture
my favourite food (yes termites) cannot survive – and they (the trees) must die some time and provide more termite food.”
“So yes let’s have more trees” .. and bamboo!!
And why do you matter Mr Panlop ?
“Well the more termites I eat, the less methane the termites give off and as you may well know methane is 25 times as powerful a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide”.
So Cool the World – Keep the Pandolins.