The black-bellied pangolin is one of the African pangolin species.Picture: Alexis Kriel
Pangolins are a species of mammal that are a lot like anteaters, except they’re covered in scales. Thanks to poachers, however, pangolins are endangered and the African pangolin is the most trafficked animal in the world. Pangolin.Africa hopes to change this.

Pangolin.Africa is a newly formed non-profit organisation, launched at the beginning of this month, dedicated to protecting the four species of pangolin in Africa.

There are 10 species, with eight on the verge of total extinction.

Marketing and communications manager at Pangolin.Africa Catherine Ritchie said: “It is estimated that the African pangolin has been around for over 40 million years. Sadly they have no defence against humans and conservationists now estimate that one pangolin is poached from the wild every five minutes due to the huge demand from the African and Asian traditional medicine markets.

“The decimation of the Asian species has seen a recent, dramatic spike in demand for the African pangolin. If we don’t take action soon then the pangolin will go extinct in the very near future.”

The organisation hopes to save the population of African pangolin species through raising awareness and educating people about the various African species, helping law enforcement stop poachers and getting members of the public involved through their Pangolert WhatsApp line.

“Pangolert is a dedicated WhatsApp line set up to help conservationists record sightings of pangolins,” said Ritchie. “The information received is communicated directly and exclusively to our research partners across Africa. It’s like an emergency number; you might never have to use it, but if you do you will be glad you have it and so will the pangolins.”

If you want to help save African pangolins, ask your parents to save the Pangolert number to their phone and they can get started on saving an endangered species. The number is 072 726 4654. For more information, visit