Striking photos of the most illegally traded wild mammal on the planet. - From Atlas Obscura
Nguyen established this rehabilitation center, called Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, in 2006 to protect some of his native country’s most vulnerable creatures.
These eight—the only members of the family Manidae, which is the only family in the order Pholidota—occupy their own little branch of the tree of life.
Although both species are adapted to a wide variety of habitats and their native ranges cover vast swaths of geography, the IUCN estimates that their populations have declined by 80 percent or more over the past several decades, and the organization predicts a similar rate of decline over the next 20 years, unless swift action is taken.
One small but critical piece of this fight are the efforts by organizations and individuals to care for pangolins that have been confiscated from poachers—either to release these animals back into suitable habitats once they’re healthy, or to establish captive breeding populations to help supplement the numbers and genetic diversity that have been lost from the wild.
Although the number of animals cared for and reared in these facilities is relatively small compared to the tens of thousands of pangolins poached from the wild each year, the influence these programs have on public perception, both within their communities and around the world, has the potential to extend much further.