The Philippine Pangolin is a species of Pangolin endemic to the province of Palawan. The Philippine Pangolin is a nocturnal insectivore that feeds on termites and ants in the dense forests of its home province. There is very little knowledge about the species and a lot of the information about it is mostly from its close relative, the Sunda Pangolin. Despite its awkward tendencies and funny appearance, this armored mammal lies in the forefront of danger.

Image: Katala Foundation Inc.

Futile Defenses

The Chinese market highly value the scales and the meat of the Pangolin of Palawan. They believe that the scales have medicinal properties, consequently making this creature a prime target for poachers. Research about the their scales showed very little to support the aforementioned claims as they are made from mostly keratin. This fibrous protein makes up our hair and nails, which makes the consumption of Pangolin scales even harder to comprehend.

Image: palawan-pangolin.blogspot.com

In 2013, authorities caught a Chinese vessel that crashed into a protected reef area. After inspection, the investigators confiscated what amounted to 10,000 kilograms of dead Pangolin. This case is only one of the many that threaten the population of these creatures. Despite their bulky scaled appearance, there’s very little the poor Pangolins can do to protect itself in the hands of poachers. They need support and help from the government and locals in order for them to survive.

Reinforcing the Armor

Image: Katala Foundation Inc.

The IUCN Red List has the Philippine Pangolin listed as endangered. It will only take a couple more years before this curious little animal’s numbers decline to critical status. As information about the species is severely lacking, the concerned government departments still need to conduct further studies on the Palawan Pangolin. The future discoveries about this animal will hopefully hold the key to their recovery and repopulation. For now, all we can do is hope for the best, and do our best to protect the scaly residents of Palawan from the greedy poachers looming on our seas.