Shout (and love) To The Pangolin and ROA

Pangolin Smuggling!

A recent article in The New York Times caught our attention this week and it made us think about Street Artist ROA, and his many paintings in the street depicting them.

ROA. Pangolin. The Gambia. (photo © Roa)

The article reported that 9 tons of pangolins scales had been seized in Hong Kong, the scales were hidden under slabs of frozen meat on a cargo ship en route to Vietnam. The most frequently trafficked mammal in the world, the Pangolin suffers when it’s killed for its scales – believed to be a cure for cancer or asthma, among other things.

Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, are not as well known to audiences worldwide but we thought we’d give this darling of a mammal a shout out today and in the process bring attention to the plight of our planet.

When are we going to stop destroying ourselves by destroying our natural resources? Everything we do creates an impact.

ROA. Pangolin. The Gambia. (photo © Roa)

Back in 2014 we published an article with a photo diary by Belgian artist ROA. He had traveled for several months from Brazil to The Gambia with stops in Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Rome. Here is what he had to say about his experience in The Gambia with the pangolin:

“I’ve painted a pangolin before in The Gambia but being back there and having read so much during the past year about the illegal trafficking of pangolins – to be served as exotic food or mostly as a ‘medicine’, I needed to paint them again.

Indian pangolin defending itself against Asiatic lions (from Wikipedia)

“Firstly, the so-called medical qualities of the ground-up scales are disputed and “the animals are currently on the list of endangered species because of the trafficking and the loss of habitat by deforestation in Africa,” explains ROA.

He notes that one of their unique attempts to protect themselves is to reconfigure their appearance.  “They can roll up into a ball to defend themselves,” he says.