Today marks World Pangolin Day. What are Pangolins? Pangolins are majestic, inquisitive creatures; yet as a result of severe poaching and trafficking, they are critically endangered. Pangolins are said to be the most widely trafficked mammal in the world due to the high demand of their body parts in Southeast Asian countries for use in traditional medicine and meat consumption.
World Pangolin Day is marked on the 3rd Saturday of February each year to bring attention to this extinction threat.
Just this month, Malaysian authorities seized a record 30 tons of pangolins and their scales, the biggest bust in the country. On February 12, Malaysian police reported that they had seized three refrigerated containers containing 1,800 boxes stuffed with full of frozen pangolins, 61 live pangolins and 765 pounds of pangolin scales. Police stated that the facility they raided has been operating for the past seven years. The scale of just this one police seizure demonstrates the enormity of the trafficking problem.
Whistleblowers can serve as an effective tool in combating the illegal pangolin trade. Incentivizing whistleblowers to bring information forward provides an effective way to confidentially and safely report these crimes. In every instance of pangolin trafficking, those on the inside know what is happening; they should be given an avenue to come forward with this information. The National Whistleblower Center, in partnership with INECE, is hosting a free webinar to explain how to use U.S. whistleblower incentive laws to combat environmental crimes such as the illegal trafficking of pangolins. More information on the webinar is here.
In January, a groundbreaking new bill was introduced in the in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and John Garamendi (D-CA). The Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act of 2019 (H.R. 864), also contains whistleblower incentives to combat trafficking and would enhance the ability of informants worldwide to detect and report wildlife crimes. The National Whistleblower Center is spearheading a grassroots campaign to support this bill calling on the public to send messages to lawmakers urging their support for the Wildlife Conservation and Anti-Trafficking Act.