When passing through Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport, you may notice posters of animals, including a bizarre-looking scaly anteater. The animal in question, a pangolin (te te in Vietnamese), is one of six species featured in the “Don’t Buy Trouble” anti-wildlife trafficking campaign in Vietnam.
This unusual looking creature is covered in protective scales that are reminiscent of an artichoke and feeds on ants and termites. Pangolins are found throughout Southeast Asia, with two species native to Vietnam, but sadly they are heavily threatened by habitat loss and excessive hunting.
Wild pangolins are hunted for their scales, meat and skin. The scales are valued in many traditional Asian medicines, while the meat is eaten and skin used for leather. All international commercial trade in Asian pangolins is illegal, but in spite of this, pangolins continue to be one of the most heavily traded animals in Southeast Asia.
Intrepid travellers should watch for this special anteater being sold at restaurants or shops and report it to the authorities. The Intrepid Foundation is supporting efforts against illegal trade in pangolins and other protected species through donations to TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network which developed the “Don’t Buy Trouble” campaign.
You can find out more about pangolins and wildlife trade at www.traffic.org. For more information on pangolin protection in Vietnam see the website of the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program in Cuc Phuong National Park, Viet Nam www.carnivore-pangolin.org.
The Intrepid Foundation – travellers making a difference
Help support TRAFFIC and other great organisations via the Intrepid Foundation, plus find out how your donation can be matched* by Intrepid Travel!
* Donations will be matched by Intrepid Travel up to AU$5000 (or equivalent) per donor and a total of AU$400,000 each financial year.
* Photos: Javan pangolin © Nguyen Dao Ngoc Van/TSEA-GMP, Pangolin “Don’t Buy Trouble” poster in Noi Bai © TSEA-GMP