Don’t Make Endangered Pangolins Sacrificial Lambs of Coronavirus


Target: Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress

Goal: Protect pangolins from public backlash and illegal trafficking.

As World Pangolin Day commenced, the scaly mammals—considered the most trafficked mammal in the world—faced a new, dangerous threat. Researchers at a Chinese university claimed that a strain of coronavirus found in pangolins may have been the origin of the virus panicking populations worldwide. Advocates for this already under-attack animal worry that the stigma from this theory could put pangolin lives in even further peril as fearful humans target the animals for execution.

Hysteria directed at pangolins will not solve this epidemic. For one, the research is unpublished and needs further review. Even if a definitive link is uncovered between pangolins and the current human strain of coronavirus, killing these animals would be an inhumane and ultimately inconsequential course of action. Pangolins are notoriously private animals and would typically avoid humans. They come into contact with people primarily through illegal trafficking. Therefore, the prevalence of wildlife traffickers and poachers is likely the true source of the problem. Ending these crimes should be the priority, not targeting the innocent victims

Sign this petition to urge China’s leadership to utilize education and law enforcement in protecting a critically endangered species.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Chairman Li,

Blaming the endangered pangolin for the coronavirus outbreak would be an easy but ultimately dangerous decision. We should not ‘celebrate’ a global day honoring these animals by placing them at even greater risk. Please prevent pangolins from becoming collateral damage as the Chinese government deals with this crisis.

Perhaps most importantly, temper fears that may have resulted from recent research findings. Educate the public about these findings and do not let destructive panic take root. More so, honor your promise to take proactive steps toward combatting the wildlife trafficking trade that has already decimated pangolin populations. As traffickers provide the most human contact that pangolins typically experience, these criminals are a much more imminent public health threat than the secluded animals they exploit for profit.

Truth and transparency can and should win this fight.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: David Brossard

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