Pangolins may have come to attention in recent month over their possible role in the spread of coronavirus, but according to WWF, for many people they are the "most trafficked species you've never heard of."
Now, a new animated film from the charity aims to highlight their plight. It features Lin, an adorable pangolin who wants to star in a Hollywood movie, because “If I become famous, pangolins will become famous ... People will care about us!” The pangolin also explains what makes the species special—it's the only mammal with scales—and why, sadly, that's the reason poachers like it too, for making traditional medicines and leather boots.
The campaign, created by Arnold, with animation by Zombie, is running on TV and social media, with all ads directing viewers to the WWF website where they can sign a pledge against the trafficking of pangolins, and commit not to buy pangolin products.
According to WWF, an estimated one million pangolins have been poached in just 10 years, and this number is likely significantly higher, with an estimated 195,000 pangolins trafficked in 2019 for their scales alone. If the current rate of illegal trade continues, the species could disappear from the wild in our lifetime.
“Prior to working on this campaign, our team, like many people, hadn’t even heard of the pangolin," said George Sargent, CEO of Arnold and Havas Media Boston, in a statement. "Today, most people still don’t know much about them. Given some of the fear and mystery around this endangered species, it’s become even more important to make people care."