Adopt a pangolin

Pangolins are facing extinction. As one of the world’s most illegally traded mammals, they need our help.

By symbolically adopting a pangolin, you can make a difference and support those organisations that are rescuing and rehabilitating pangolins. It’s a great gift for a pangolin fan as the recipient receives an adoption pack and, sometimes, a soft toy.

David Shepherd Foundation – adoption includes a print and an optional handmade pangolin toy by Little Ndaba, a women’s community project in Zambia.

Born Free – adoption includes a pangolin soft toy and supports the Sangha Pangolin Project in the Central African Republic.

WWF – adoption includes a pangolin soft toy.

Scales Conservation Fund – adoption helps to provide veterinary treatment to pangolins retrieved from the illegal wildlife trade in the Greater Kruger area in South Africa.

Save Vietnam’s Wildlife – adopt Polly and the other pangolins in the care of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife. Adoption provides fresh food, veterinary treatment and a place to live for injured pangolins and those waiting to be released back into the wild.

Animal Works International – offer an adoption programme in support of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife.

Wildlife Alliance – sponsor Sunda pangolin Raya and the pangolin conservation work of Wildlife Alliance in Cambodia.

Support pangolin conservation without the symbolic adoption by donating to Save Pangolins or the Pangolin Crisis Fund.

Book cover of It's Not My Fault
Buy my book: a pocket-sized companion for when you feel like a pangolin and want to roll up into a ball.

How to help pangolins

Pangolins are the world’s most illegally traded mammal. It’s easy to feel helpless, like there’s nothing you can do to make a difference. But Pipisin Pangolin’s got a few ideas of things you could do to help pangolins…

Get yourself a pangolin t-shirt, jewellery or make it permanent with a tattoo!
Dedicated conservationists are working hard to save and protect pangolins, support them by making a donation. They are lots of amazing pangolin organisations but if you’re not sure who to donate to – support the Pangolin Crisis Fund.
Challenge yourself to do a sponsored run. Don’t like running? Choose a different challenge…
Raise funds by organising a cake bake.
Share your art online to help raise awareness.
Demand for pangolin scales and meeting is driving them to extinction. Report to your local authorities or using the Wildlife Witness app.
Pipisin Pangolin looking at a pangolin adoption certificate
Support pangolin conservation by adopting a pangolin.
Our everyday choices impact on the forests, the oceans, and all the plants and animals that we share the planet with. Take action to live more sustainably.

Book cover of It's Not My Fault
Buy my book: a pocket-sized companion for when you feel like a pangolin and want to roll up into a ball.

Where were you when…?

I can’t quite believe it’s so long since I first went to the Philippines as part of a Rotary sponsored Group Study Exchange (GSE). Some of the memories seem so fresh including visiting school on the shores of Laguna de Bay where the children danced for us (though dancing wasn’t unusual, there was always dancing). Just a few months later, the school and so much of the surrounding area was devastated by a typhoon. This is what I wrote at the time, back in early October 2009.

Visiting the school in April 2009

Where were you when…? A phrase probably most associated with the assassination of Kennedy and more recently with the terrorist attacks on the twin towers. It may not have had the same international impact but I’ll always remember the exact moment when I heard about the flooding caused by Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) in the Philippines. Driving out of Bridlington an English coastal town with the car radio switched on: it was a sunny Sunday afternoon following the annual conference of Rotary District 1270, where I had been speaking with other members of the GSE Team to District 3820 in the Philippines. I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. My initial deep shock turned to feelings of helplessness and distress at a situation where I knew people who were involved but could do nothing to help.

Typhoon Ketsana wreaked havoc in Manila and Laguna – a region visited by our GSE team. One month’s worth of rain fell in six hours; at least 288 people were killed; the homes of 3 million people were damaged or destroyed; and an estimated £72m worth of crops were damaged. The scale of it is difficult to grasp, the long term impact perhaps harder. The disaster is so massive that the government and aid agencies have been overwhelmed. Outside Manila, much of the relief effort is being carried out by volunteers and civic organisations including Rotary.

The town of Bay, on the shore of a large lake, has been a major casualty. In March, when we visited a school in Bay it was an idyllic place. The children sang and danced for us, and we looked over the still blue waters of the lake. Now the school, and adjacent neighbourhood, are chest deep in muddy water. The water isn’t expected to recede for weeks, perhaps months. The smiling children who had met us already had so little, now their homes and school are underwater, their school bags washed away.

The same school after the typhoon, in early October 2009

Like many of the Rotary Clubs in the region, the Rotary Clubs of Bay and West Bay responded immediately. Delivering what emergency relief aid they could. Food, water and clothing were a priority. Now they plan to buy hygiene products, medicines and water purification tablets. They are also preparing the families that will be housed using ShelterBoxes. This immediate response by Filipino Rotarians has been repeated throughout the affected area. But their ability to help those in need is, and will continue to be, limited by a lack of funds.

International aid has arrived in the Philippines but is prioritised in the capital, Manila, leaving those in the provinces such as Laguna feeling frustrated. The Philippines is no stranger to disaster: being in the path of typhoons rolling in off the Pacific and with active volcanoes and earthquake risk. District 3820, has a Calamity Fund to help cope with disasters but this fund is now depleted. The Rotary Clubs have little left to help with the reconstruction/rehabilitation of communities.

The response by Filipinos to the unfolding disaster should be an inspiration to us all, as is the Filipino Rotarians dedication to Service above Self.

This was published by Rotary District 1270 and by a few local newspapers in the UK. We managed to raise funds to help with the relief work carried out by the Rotarians that had hosted and looked after us six months earlier.

 

The glittery tree that wasn’t just for Christmas

I came across this piece that I wrote after my first visit to the Philippines as part of a Rotary Group Study Exhange (GSE). It was published in “The Vision” – The official Governor’s Monthly Letter Rotary International District 3820 (Philippines) in August 2009

When you sign up for a GSE, it’s the beginning of a whole new adventure. Exciting and unimaginable experiences lie ahead but, arriving in the Philippines after 36 hours of non-stop travelling and barely four hours sleep, I just wanted to be in bed. Instead, I found myself inside a Filipino prison being presented with a plastic tree covered in red and silver glitter. I’ve never even been in an English prison, and with four weeks of travel ahead and a bag already full, what on earth was I going to do with a glittery tree?

Rachel's tree
My glittery tree made from a plastic bottle by a prison inmate in the Philippines

On closer inspection, the tree turned out to be carved from a plastic drinks bottle. The branches ingeniously formed, I can only guess, by melting and moulding the plastic. Whoever made this tree had some skill. And the red and silver made it look kind of Christmassy; it would make a unique Christmas decoration. Something to bring out once a year, perhaps with sweets in the bowl formed from the base of the bottle. The glittery tree was a gift that I wanted to take back to England, but how could I keep it safe? It was fragile and might not cope with the battering of travel. Step forward the San Pedro Rotarians who kindly looked after it whilst I was in the Philippines. Then, for the journey home? Baggage handlers are not known for their delicate touch! I found the ideal solution: stuffing clean underwear into the canopy of the tree to give it the protection it needed.

Back in England, I was proud of my tree. It had survived and reminded me of the colour and vibrancy of the Philippines. The tree sat for a while on the mantelpiece, until my husband subtly suggested that, perhaps, I should find a suitable box to keep it in. A plastic tree covered in red and silver glitter, I have to admit, didn’t really fit in with the decor of our home. Maybe it was destined to be a tree just for Christmas.

Following a GSE, team members tour their local Rotary clubs giving presentations. I hoped our presentation would give people a taste of our experiences of the Philippines and, more importantly, an appreciation of the dedication to Service Above Self that we witnessed among the Filipino Rotarians. I took my glittery tree to our first presentation.

Picture3

At the end of the presentation, when I tentatively asked everyone to donate £1 to buy flip-flops (slippers) for Filipino children, the tree became the star of the show. As it was passed around, people marvelled at its construction and its origin. As they did so, they all dropped a £1 coin, sometimes more, into the bowl of tree. Now, my glittery tree accompanies me to all our presentations. As well as the trail of glitter I leave behind me, I hope I also leave a little bit of Filipino sparkle in the minds of the Rotarians of District 1270 (Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire, UK).

This note was added at the end:
Rachel has been asking everyone who attends the GSE Teams’ presentations to donate £1 to go towards buying slippers or other needed gifts for Filipino children. Four presentations have been given so far (three to Rotary clubs and one to Rachel’s work colleagues) and £171.00 has been raised for the Rotary Club of West Bay. A further £100.00 has also been pledged by Rachel’s sponsoring club [the Rotary Club of Lindum, Lincoln], making a total of about P20,000. More presentations are planned. Rachel and the rest of the GSE Team hope to raise further funds and support at District 1270’s Discon (District Conference) in late September. – Editor

But at the same time as the District Conference in late September 2009, Typhoon Ketsana (aka Ondoy) was pounding the Philippines.