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Scales and stripes: flying the flag for pangolins in a tiger stronghold

tiger pangolin


Protecting one of Asia’s most formidable apex predators may not seem like the most obvious way to help another species that might be on its dinner menu, but that is precisely what Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is doing in Sumatra’s Kerinci Seblat National Park, the second-largest national park in Southeast Asia.

In theory, a pangolin would make a handy bite-sized snack for a Sumatran tiger, but in reality an encounter with a hungry feline is the least of its worries. Thanks to their cloak of tough, overlapping scales, pangolins can protect themselves against even the most determined natural predators by the simple expedient of rolling into a virtually impenetrable ball.

Unfortunately, this technique is no defence against humans. The total tonnage of these scaly anteaters that fall victim to the illegal wildlife trade is staggering. More than a million pangolins are estimated to have been taken from the wild since 2000. MORE

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