ZSL is celebrating World Pangolin Day 2018 (17 February 2018) by giving animal-lovers the unique chance to show support for the scaly mammal – by taking home a true-to-life cuddly pangolin toy.
Over the past year ZSL’s pangolin experts have worked closely with the ZSL buying team, based at London Zoo, to create the perfect pangolin replica toy, ensuring the adorable toy is physically accurate.
The soft toy is anatomically correct and measures the same as a Chinese pangolin (approximately 40 - 58 cm). The cuddly animal has the correct shape and number of claws; include their powerful foreclaws which are used to rip open ants nests and termite mounds. Its face is true to life, including the eyes, ears and colour of the tongue.
In January 2018, ZSL tested the products on shoppers to see if members of the public could recognise this Critically Endangered animal. In fact, not one person was able to name this particular scaly mammal and comments included: “are they extinct, I don’t recognise it?”, “is it an anteater?”, and “is related to the armadillo.”
Kathryn England, ZSL Head of Commercial said, “Many people are unaware of the Critically Endangered pangolin. At ZSL we wanted to take a step towards raising awareness of this incredible mammal so we created a replica of the Chinese species of pangolin in a soft toy, not only raise awareness of the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species but help children learn about this extraordinary creature.
“Not only does this cuddly toy raise awareness, treating yourself to a pangolin toy from our store supports our wildlife conservation projects across the globe. Our shop collections are all sustainably sourced, including ethically sourced materials and recyclable packaging.”
A recent (2017) study conducted by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London) revealed that Britons have greater awareness of mythical creatures like mermaids, Ewoks and the Yeti than some of world’s most unique and irreplaceable real-life species, such as the pangolin.
Pangolins (Pholidota), who call Asian and African countries home, are currently declining across their range due to poaching due to their scales and for their meat. This is driving unsustainable levels of poaching and illegal trade. As a result, pangolins are now widely regarded to be the world’s most trafficked wild mammals with more than one million estimated to have been snatched from the wild in the past decade.
The pangolin plush is available online and in stores at ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo for £20.00.