Pangolin Course
Photo Credit: Helena Atkinson - Pangolin.Africa Chairperson

A new free online course is going to help train up the next generation of Pangolin Guardians and help youth living near their environments, join the fun too!

 

South Africa (04 August 2023) – A new free online course aims to teach wildlife and nature fans more about pangolins as well as what to do if you are lucky enough to encounter one in the wild.

Created by non-profit Pangolin.Africa the course has two parts with a few questions in between to show understanding. The first part of the course answers some common questions about pangolins (like whether they are related to armadillos, and how many African pangolin species are there). “Thanks to Covid and the tenuous link involving pangolins being a suspected transmitter more people know what a pangolin is” says Toby Jermyn from Pangolin.Africa “ but there are still plenty of gaps in most people’s knowledge about this incredible creature”. Part one hopes to fill those gaps.

Part two then addresses what people should be doing if they are lucky enough to encounter one in the wild. When a pangolin is encroached upon or feels threatened it rolls itself into a ball or lies flat on the ground and the misconception among most safari goers is that it is then ok to approach the pangolin for a closer look… or even a selfie. As the course explains this is never a good idea as a pangolin in this state is super stressful and will as a result the pangolin potentially leave the area and seek sanctuary elsewhere. 

Pangolins have a very distinct home range and if they feel they need to move it could cause them severe harm as they will have to identify new food sources and may even wander onto another pangolin’s territory which could cause conflict too.

It is suggested in the course that you try and maintain at least 10m from any wild pangolin and if it exhibits any kind of stress you should move away immediately. This distance should be doubled should the pangolin be with its young – a pangolin pup.

“We are always asked how many pangolins are left in the wild and the simple answer is we don’t know” says Jermyn. “What we do know is that we are seeing them far less and that can’t be good so we need to not make it any harder for pangolins to co-exist with humans”.

When someone completes the course, they will receive a certificate of membership to The Pangolin Guardians. It is hoped that as the number of Guardians grows we will increase awareness about pangolins and raise help raise much-needed money for our partners who work in pangolin rescue and rehabilitation facilities. 

The Pangolin Guardians course is available for free at www.pangolin.africa and once completed you can purchase a Pangolin Guardian Badge to show your support. Every badge purchased also buys one more badge for a young person living in an area near where pangolins occur so we can educate the next generation about pangolins and do something to reverse their decline. “Because if people don’t know…why should they care?” ends Jermyn.

The course is available in English, Afrikaans and Setswana and each has video content with accompanying subtitles in the mentioned language. You can sign up here.


Sources: Supplied
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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