Around 100,000 pangolins are taken from the wild in Africa and Asia each year for their scales and meat, driving a silent extinction. According to the findings from the Tikki Hywood Foundation, this endangered species is being poached with some believing that the scales can be used for medical purposes of which is not the case because the scales of pangolin are made from Keratin. Pangolins are the most heavily trafficked mammals on the planet and in efforts to protect them, the Tikki Hywood Foundation and African Parks have partnered to combine their expertise and resources to keep them safe.
The Tikki Hywood Foundation is a wildlife-based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) based in Zimbabwe, founded by Lisa Hywood in 1994. According to said Lisa Hywood, founder and CEO of Tikki Hywood Foundation “After having had the privilege of working with this enigmatic and highly threatened mammal for nearly three decades, it is becoming alarmingly apparent that we could lose pangolin as a species within our lifetime. Now more than ever it is important for restorative activities such as the work undertaken by African Parks. We are incredibly excited about this partnership as a platform for far-reaching conservation of pangolins,”.
The foundation strives to increase public awareness, train law enforcement and judiciary personal conduct research and rehabilitate pangolins that have been confiscated from the illegal trade. On the other hand, African Parks manages 16 protected areas in 10 countries, many of which fall within pangolin range states. The partnership will comprise cross-continent cooperation, joining Tikki Hywood Foundation’s specialized species knowledge and skills with African Parks’ operational capacity in remote areas to rescue, protect and release vulnerable animals into parks managed by African Parks in partnership with governments.
As part of their shared vision to protect pangolins in Africa, this joint effort will facilitate training in best practices and procedures for pangolin rehabilitation, the provision of specialized support and the resources needed to scale capacity for the protection and wellbeing of rescued and orphaned pangolins across the continent. “Without collaborative action, this lesser-known and the critically endangered animal will disappear forever in the face of a rampant illicit trade,” said African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead. He added that “by partnering with the Tikki Hywood Foundation, we can take the rescue and rehabilitation of pangolins a step further.We can give them adequate safe harbour in well-protected areas vital for their survival in their remaining African range.”