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Constellation Manis, or, What the Heck is a Pangolin?


The constellation Manis, created by naturalist John Hill in 1754 in his book Urania: or, A Compleat View of the Heavens, is a pangolin.  But what exactly is a pangolin... some type of dinosaur?  No - in fact, not only are pangolins alive today, but they're considered to be the most hunted animal on Earth. 



Pangolins are highly valued in Asia (China and Vietnam, in particular) for their scales and meat.  The scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine to cure circulation and lactation problems and cancer, even though there's no evidence of the scales possessing any medicinal value. And despite pangolin meat being illegal, it is served in some high-end restaurants as a delicacy.  As a result, the pangolin population in Asia is being decimated. And now the population in Africa is also declining because of illegal poaching.  Local education is the best defense, and worldwide education to foster support for those local educators is vital.


Why should we care about a creature we never knew existed?  Because all creation matters.  Put ecologically, pangolins eat ants.  Ants eat vegetation such as rubber trees. If pangolins disappear, then ant populations grow and rubber trees begin to disappear.  A ripple effect takes place which affects not only the local eco-system but the world climate and economic system as well.  In his story on pangolins, CNN's John D. Sutter wrote:


"Everything in the natural world is connected. All of it matters. As one wildlife crime expert, Crawford Allan, put it to me: What's the point of saving Mona Lisa's smile if the rest of the painting is gone?"

10% of the sale of the Pulsar Pangolin painting will be donated to Wild & Free, an organization that supports wildlife rescue facilities for the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of pangolins from the illegal wildlife trade.  I support them in their mission to protect and save these innocent creatures.  If you'd like to learn more about the pangolin's plight and donate, visit Wild and Free.  From their website: 


"Most people have never heard about Pangolins yet they are the most trafficked mammal in the world. We do not know their populations but it is estimated that 10,000 pangolins are trafficked illegally each year. If you assume only 10% to 20% of the actual trade is reported by the news media, the true number trafficked over a two-year period was 116,990 to 233,980, according to Annamiticus, an advocacy group. We must all join the effort to help those saving them! Please donate generously to keep these incredible and innocent animals on our planet."