PRESS RELEASE – February 21st, 2015
On World Pangolin Day, WildLeaks launches a partnership with the Tikki Hywood Trust in Zimbabwe, to strengthen the fight against the poaching and trafficking of pangolins, the world’s most poached mammal.
WildLeaks, the world’s first wildlife crime whistleblower initiative, and the Elephant Action League, the California-based organization that runs WildLeaks, will provide the online secure anonymous platform and will collaborate on joint investigative projects.
With the pangolin populations dwindling rapidly in Asia, Africa has now become the harvesting ground. In 2013, 676 kg of pangolin scales were confiscated in Asia from Africa, but just a year later more than 6.4 tons of pangolin scales have been seized in Hong Kong and China.
We are not in the third month of 2015 and the volume of pangolin scales seized so far has already exceeded the total seizures of African pangolin scales for the whole of 2014.
Hong Kong has just seized 1 ton of pangolin scales originating from Kenya.
“Unlike other species like the rhino, elephant and tiger, pangolins are small and easily transported. There are no concrete population estimates for pangolin across the eight species and we may lose the last one without even knowing it is the last one” says Mr. Andrea Crosta, founder of WildLeaks and the Elephant Action League. “We need a much more proactive role of African and Asian governments to crack down on the illegal market and on the corruption that facilitates the trade”.
“Fighting illegal wildlife crime is a global concern and this war can only be won if we join together. The pangolin needs a voice, so this partnership with WildLeaks and the Tikki Hywood Trust will provide a platform whereby its plight can be heard” says Lisa Hywood, founder of the Tikki Hywood Trust.
Worldwide the pangolin has become the victim of the illegal wildlife trade primarily for their scales, used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to heal a number of aliments. The skin of a pangolin is used in the manufacture of leather goods and up until 2000 America were the largest importers of pangolin. Now the pangolin has also become a status symbol and in Asia often a meal of pangolin is used to sign a deal. Restaurants still serve pangolin as well as pangolin wine. Restaurant patrons in countries like Vietnam pay up to $700 for just two kilograms of meat.
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For more information:
Mr. Andrea Crosta firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs. Lisa Hywood email@example.com
About the Elephant Action League and WildLeaks
Elephant Action League (EAL) is a new independent organization with the mission of fighting wildlife crime through Concrete, Innovative and Collaborative projects.
EAL researches wildlife crime, collects information, conducts field investigations and supports anti-poaching and anti-trafficking activities, including training and capacity building.
In February 2014 EAL launched WildLeaks, the world’s first initiative for wildlife crime whistleblowers.
EAL is legally established in Los Angeles, California, with representatives in New York, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, Rwanda and Kenya.
About the Tikki Hywood Trust
The Tikki Hywood Trust has been in operation in Zimbabwe since 1994. Our logo is the Pangolin, to us a symbol of respect and honour of a species that deserves recognition and protection. Our expertise with this species has been garnered through years of working with rescued animals from poaching situations. We are the only recognised pangolin rehabilitation and release organisation in Zimbabwe and are in fact founding members of various recently established pangolin interest groups.
We are currently considered the African experts on this species and as such are consulted in matters relating to rescue, captive care, orphan rearing, rehabilitation and release. We are actively involved with changing legislation, anti-poaching efforts, following up on prosecution and the implementation of wildlife law.