“PLIGHT OF THE PANGOLIN”

April 04, 2019 at 4:45 am

“The World’s Most Wanted Animal” is one you’ve probably never heard of. Nature Executive Producer Fred Kaufman is here with the heartbreaking details and preview of the “Plight Of The Pangolin”.

For more information, click here. 

Aired on April 3, 2019. 

Transcript Print

>>> PANGOLINS HAVE BEEN DESCRIBED
AS THE MOST ENDANGERED ANIMAL
YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF.
THE WORLD'S ONLY SCALY MAMMAL.
PENGUINS ARE NOW TRAFFICKED AT A
HIGHER RATE THAN RHINO,
ELEPHANTS AND TIGERS COMBINED.
ONE HEROIC CONSERVATIONIST HAS
PUT HERSELF ON THE FRONT LINE OF
THE BATTLE TO SAVE THESE
SURPRISINGLY CHARMING CREATURES.
HER STORY AND THAT OF THE
PENGUINS IS THE SUBJECT OF
NATURE'S LATEST INSTALLMENT, THE
WORLD'S MOST WANTED ANIMAL.
>> THE PENG LIN HAS EXISTED FOR
40 MILLION YEARS BUT IT MAY NOT
SURVIVE MANY MORE.
>> AND EXACTLYIVE PRODUCE OVER
"NATURE" JOINS US NOW.
FRED, THE PANGOLIN AS I SAID IS
MOST TRAFFICKED ANIMAL IN THE
WORLD BY FAR.
YET I'M WILLING TO WAGER AT
LEAST 90% OF OUR VIEWERS HAVE
NEVER HEARD OF THE PACK LIN WHY?
>> MAYBE UP UNTIL FIVE YEARS AGO
I NEVER HEARD OF THE PANGOLIN.
>> AND WHY?
>> AND AFTER 5 YEARS OF NATURE
AND HUNDREDS OF PROGRAMS WE'VE
NEVER EVEN HAD A PANGOLIN IN A
SHOW.
THEY ARE VERY HARD TO FIND.
THEY ARE THREATENED.
ENDANGERED.
AND THEY ARE VERY ELUSIVE IN THE
SAVANNAH.
YOU CAN'T SEE THEM.
THEY ARE WELL CAMOUFLAGED AND
THERE AREN'T A LOT OF THEM
AROUND.
SO, YOU KNOW, NORMALLY YOU
WOULDN'T NORMALLY SEE ONE.
IN OUR SHOW WE HAVE A WILDLIFE
CAMERAMAN WHO'S BEEN SHOOTING 25
YEARS AND HE'S ONLY SEEN THEM
THREE TIMES.
>> WOW.
AND THEY ARE THE CUTEST THINGS.
>> VERY CUTE.
LIKE LITTLE WALKING DINOSAURS OR
SOMETHING.
>> WHY ARE THEY BEING TRAFFICKED
TO SUCH A DEGREE?
>> IT IS THEIR SCALES.
THEIR SCALES ARE WANTED IN ASIA
AND GROUND DOWN AND BOILED AND
THOUGHT TO HAVE SOME MEDICINAL
CURE.
TO BITE YOUR NAILS AND SEE IF
YOU ARE CURED IS BETTER THAN
TAKING THESE ANIMALS OUT OF THE
WILD.
>> THE SCALES HAVE BEEN SOUGHT
OFF IN ASIA FOR A CENTURY.
MAYBE LOCKER.
>> YEAH.
>> NEVERTHELESS THE DEMAND SEEMS
TO HAVE SPIKED THROUGH THE ROOF
IN THE LAST 20 YEARS, HENCE THEN
CREASE IN TRAFFIC.
AND WHY?
DO WE KNOW?
>> UP UNTIL ABOUT 2000 IT WAS
LEGAL TO TRADE PANGOLIN IN ASIA.
AND THERE ARE FOUR SPECIES IN
ASIA AND FOUR SPECIES IN AFRICA.
THEY ARE MUCH MORE THREATENED
AND ENDANGERED IN ASIA.
AND FROM THE YEAR 2000 ON THEY
COMPLETELY STOPPED IMPORTING
PANGOLINS.
SO NOW THERE IS A GREATER DEMAND
FOR THE AFRICAN PANGOLIN.
AND I ALSO THINK THE SCALES OF
THE PANGOLIN ARE SAME THING AS A
RHINO HORN.
AND I THINK SINCE THE RHINOS
HAVE BECOME FAR MORE PROTECTED,
PEOPLE ARE NOW TURNED TO THE
PANGOLIN SCALES TO KIND OF DO
THE SAME THING.
>> ALL RIGHT.
SO ENTER MARIE INTO THE PICTURE.
WHY IS SHE SO IMPORTANT TO THE
PICTURE?
>> IN ANYNAMIBIA SHE STARTED A
CONSERVATION AND WANTED TO BRING
ATTENTION TO THESE LESSER KNOWN
ANIMALS.
THEY DON'T GET A LOT OF
ATTENTION.
THEY ARE NOT THE BIG MARQUEE
NAMED ANIMALS LIKE ELEPHANTS AND
BIG CATS.
SO SHE WAS BRINGING ATTENTION TO
THESE LESSER KNOWN ANIMALS.
AND SOMEBODY HEARD ABOUT HER AND
BROUGHT HER AN ORPHAN PANGOLIN.
AND THAT BECAME SORT OF THE
PROCESS FOR HER TO NURTURE THIS
PANGOLIN AND GAIN THE REPUTATION
OF TAKING CARE OF THESE ANIMALS,
WHICH ARE VERY, VERY DIFFICULT
TO MAINTAIN IN CAPTIVITY.
THEY DIE.
>> RIGHT.
MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO
IT.
SHE'S ONE OF THE FEW, LIKE A
HANDFUL OF PEOPLE WHO CAN KEEP
THEM ALIVE.
>> SHE SAYS THERE ARE THREE IN
THE WORLD.
SHE'S ONE OF THEM TO.
REALLY KEEP THEM ALIVE IS 20
HOURS A DAY AND SHE WALKS WITH
IT.
AND HAS HER ASSISTANTS WALK WITH
IT FIVE HOURS A DAY.
>> TO FEED.
>> TO FEED AND FORAGE AND HAVE A
SEMBLANCE OF A NORMAL LIFE.
THEY ARE VERY SCARED ANIMALS.
THEY GET STRESSED VERY EASILY.
SO WHEN THEY ARE KIDNAPPED, YOU
KNOW, MOST OF THEM DIE FROM THE
TRAUMA.
THINK IF SOMEBODY THREW A BAG
OVER YOUR HEAD AND THREW YOU IN
TRUNK OF A CAR HOW TRAUMATIC
THAT IS.
SO THAT IS WHAT HAPPENS TO THE
ANIMALS AND SHE'S FIGURED A WAY
YOU HAVE TO PUT A LOT OF TIME
AND CARING TO NURTURE THEM.
>> SHE'S DOING TIRELESS WORK AS
YOU JUST DESCRIBED.
BUT SHE'S SAVING ONE AT A TIME.
AND THAT -- THAT'S NOTHING
COMPARED TO THE THOUSANDS AND
THOUSANDS THAT ARE POACHED AND
TRAFFICKED.
>> RIGHT.
>> SO CLEARLY THE ANSWER IS TO
STOP THE DEMAND FOR PANGOLIN
SCALES.
RIGHT?
STOP IT OR CURTAIL IT OR
DIMINISH IT?
HOW DO THEY PLAN TO DO THAT?
>> YOU KNOW IT IS VERY
DIFFICULT.
LOT OF DEMAND IS COMING FROM
ASIA.
SO MARIA REACHED OUT TO THIS
CHINESE ACTRESS AND MODEL.
HER NAME IS ANGEL.
>> -- ANGEL BABY.
UNBELIEVABLE POPULAR.
>> BIG PANGOLIN FAN.
AND SHE RECORDED THIS PUBLIC
SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT FOR CHINA
TO NOT, YOU KNOW, POACH THESE
ANIMALS.
AND, YOU KNOW, HARD TO SAY WHAT
KIND OF EFFECT IT WILL HAVE.
I THINK YOU REALLY NEED TO
CHANGE THE MINDS OF PEOPLE, THE
YOUNGER GENERATION.
SO, YOU KNOW, THEY LOOK AT THAT
AS BEING SOMETHING YOU WOULDN'T
WANT TO BEGIN WITH.
THE SAME THING AS ELEPHANT IVORY
AND RHINO HORN AND PANGOLIN
SCALES.
IT IS NOT COOL.
NOT HELPFUL.
IT HAS NO MEDICINAL VALUE.
>> LEARNING WHAT THEY ARE IN THE
FIRST PLACE IS A START.
WHAT ANGEL BABY IS DOING IS ONE
THING.
WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE DOING
WITH THIS SERIES IS ANOTHER,
RIGHT?
>> YES.
I HOPE SO, YES.
>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THE SERIES.
YOU HAVE BEEN HERE MANY TIMES
AND WE TALKED ABOUT STORIES THAT
ARE ALWAYS FUN AND VERY OFTEN
FUNNY.
BUT A SERIES UNDERCURRENT OF
EVERY SHOW OF THE SERIES SEEMS
TO ME TO BE THE CRITICAL
IMPORTANCE OF CONSERVATION AND
PRESERVATION.
RIGHT?
AM I RIGHT ABOUT THIS.
>> YEAH, YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES I
FEEL LIKE WE TOO OFTEN
ROMANTICIZE OR SANITIZE NATURE.
WHENEVER THERE IS PREDATION, WE
GET E-MAIL, WHY DID OWE SHOW
THAT?
>> RIGHT.
YOU ACTUALLY DON'T SHOW
EVERYTHING YOU COULD.
>> EXACTLY.
I MEAN WE REALLY EDIT IT DOWN.
IT MUCH MORE HORRIFIC WHAT GOES
ON IN THE WILD.
SO THERE IS A RESPONSIBILITY TO
NOT JUST SHOW CUTE FUZZY ANIMALS
KIND OF BEHAVING IN A WAY THAT
WE THINK WE WOULDN'T WANT THEM
TO BEHAVE.
THERE IS A REAL DARK SIDE TO A
LOT OF WHAT'S GOING ON.
AND THE PANGOLIN, YOU KNOW,
NOBODY HAS HEARD OF THIS ANIMAL.
IT IS NOT LIKE ELEPHANTS WHERE
YOU SEE COMMERCIALS ON
TELEVISION.
SO WE FELT IT WAS SUPER
IMPORTANT THAT WE PUT THIS OUT
THERE.
>> SO, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE BEEN
DOING THIS A LONG TIME.
YOU HAVE A LOT OF KNOWLEDGE, LOT
OF EXPERIENCE.
WHAT IS YOUR GUESS?
CAN THE PANGOLINS BE SAVED?
>> I DON'T THINK THE ASIAN
PANGOLIN CAN.
I THINK MORE HOPEFUL FOR THE
AFRICAN PANGOLIN, YOU KNOW.
THE HARDER IT IS TO GET A
PANGOLIN IN THE WILD THE MORE
VALUABLE THE SCALES BECOME SO IT
BECOME THIS IS CATCH 22 THING.
YOU KNOW, SO HARD TO -- WE DON'T
EVEN KNOW HOW MANY PANGOLINS ARE
LEFT.
WE DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THEIR
BIOLOGY.
SO WE JUST DON'T KNOW ENOUGH
ABOUT THEM.
>> YEAH.
ALL RIGHT, FRED.
WELL LET'S HOPE FOR THE BEST FOR
THE PANG LICENSE.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING
US.
>> THANK YOU.OLINS.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING
US.
>> THANK YOU.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019