An endangered sunda pangolin, Manis javanica, at the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Center, Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam. The photograph is one of thousands of portraits made by photographer Joel Sartore for the National Geographic Photo Ark, an ambitious project committed to documenting every species in captivity—inspiring people not just to care, but also to help protect these animals for future generations.
It is estimated that more than a million pangolins have been snatched from the wild in the past decade, according to the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group, an organization leading efforts to save these scaly, ant-eating mammals from poaching and illegal trade.
That might just make the pangolin the most trafficked animal in the world, and all because in some consumer markets eating its flesh is seen as a rare luxury, or its scales are used in traditional medicine. This is an illegal and immoral trade. On #WorldPangolinDay (February 18), you can help by educating yourself and spreading awareness of this situation.