As part of their Planet Earth series, Great Big Story visited with a baby tree pangolin who rode around on his mother’s tail. Despite being adorable, these ambassadors are part of a program that seeks to bring awareness to the possibility of this beautiful species becoming extinct. Due to poaching and black market trading, pangolins are dwindling in numbers and are on IUCN list of Threatened species at varying levels from vulnerable to critically endangered.
There’s no mammal in the world quite like the tree pangolin. Covered in reptilian-like scales that protect it from predators in the wild, the pangolin will curl into a ball when threatened. Unfortunately, such tactics do little to protect it from humans. Superstitions about the unproven healing properties of pangolin scales, and its popularity in the illegal pet trade have taken a serious toll on the worldwide population, and today it is endangered.