As you can imagine there are quite a few different types of animals represented in The Jungle Book. One that caught everyone’s eye is a little unique, unique because most people have never seen a pangolin before. In the movie, a pangolin shares a few scenes with Baloo and provides some comic relief.
We spoke with Jeff Flocken of the International Fund for Animal Welfare during the Jungle Book press junket to learn more about these endangered animals. Here are 10 facts about Pangolins I learned during our conversation.
10 Facts about Pangolins
1. Pangolins are completely unique mammals. They are exclusive to their taxonomy branch. There is no close relative anywhere near the pangolin.
2. There are eight different species of Pangolins. Four in Asia and Four in Africa
3. Pangolins are coveted for their meat which is considered a delicacy in some countries, and their scales for use in traditional Asian medicines.
4. Pangolins are so endangered, they are very likely to become extinct in our lifetime unless we do something to prevent it.
5. Pangolins are solitary, nocturnal animals
6. There is no way of even knowing how many are left in the wild due to their solitary, nocturnal nature.
7. There has never been a baby pangolin born in captivity.
8. In fact, pangolins can’t be successfully kept in captivity at all. It’s almost impossible to keep them alive once they’ve been taken from the wild.
9. The only zoo in North America to currently house a pangolin is the San Diego Zoo.
Jon Favreau, director of The Jungle Book insisted on including a pangolin in the film to help raise awareness for this unique but little-known endangered animal.
How Can I Help?
International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is working to try to set up protection so that the animals can no longer be traded legally, which will also help stop the illegal trade. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) issued their 90 day finding on the pangolin petition on March 16th. IFAW got a positive finding, which means it will go through the full process to determine if pangolins warrant “Endangered” protection. IFAW is asking for the public to sign a petition in support of protecting the pangolins. Their page to collect signatures isn’t available yet but should be next week. I’ll update this post with a link once it’s available. In the mean time check out this page for more information on protecting pangolins.
Plus don’t forget you can see a pangolin in Disney’s The Jungle Book in theaters on April 15th!!