Last updated March 5, 2018 at 9:49 am
The extraordinary pangolin is an insect-eating mammal found in Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.
The animals are distinguished by the large, scales made of keratin – the same substance of fingernails and hair – that cover their bodies. While those scale provide admirable protection from predators, they are also the source of the poor old pangolin’s downfall.
The scales fetch a high price in alternative medicine markets in China and attract unscrupulous poachers who have hunted the pangolin to extinction in many parts of the world. Deforestation has also played a role in the demise of the animals.
By some accounts the animals are the most trafficked on earth and may account for up to 20 per cent of the entire wildlife black market.
Pangolin species range in size from 30 centimetres to 100 centimetres and live in hollow trees or burrows which they dig with their powerful legs. These burrows provide habitat for many other animals, which their diet of ant and other insects mean the animals provide a vital ecological service.
This simple short film highlights the work being carried out by dedicated rangers in Pakistan battling against the odds to save the pangolin.
Over the holiday period, we are highlighting science films featured in last year’s SCINEMA film festival.
SCINEMA is the largest science film festival in the southern hemisphere showcasing the best in science cinema from around the world. SCINEMA is a celebration of the power of the moving image to inspire the young, satisfy the curious, explain the baffling and ask the impossible.
You can read more about it, or even enter your own film, here.