Ho Chi Minh City, June 10, 2022 – In order to call for the community to join hands to protect wildlife, CHANGE and WildAid Vietnam launch the short film “Guardians of the Wild” in June 2022, continuing the success of previous campaigns that have made a strong impression on the young people. This is the main media product of the Guardians of the Wild campaign – a creative media campaign that aims to raise public awareness of 4 Asian Pangolin species and their special abilities to help the ecosystem based on their real natural abilities: pest control. Thus, people will better understand the relationship between humans and pangolins – a species that is indispensable to the balance of the ecosystem.
Pangolins play an important ecological role, providing ‘pest’ control and improving soil quality. Their large and elongated claws enable them to burrow underground for shelter and to excavate ant and termite nests for food. In doing so, the soil is mixed and aerated—much like what happens when we rototill gardens or plow crop fields. This improves the nutrient quality of the soil and aids the decomposition cycle, providing a healthy substrate for lush vegetation to grow from. A single pangolin can consume up to 191,780 insects – ants and termites/day (over 70 million a year). Researchers at Ohio State University claim billions of dollars are spent annually on repairing termite damage and treating and preventing infestations. Meanwhile, healthy populations of scaly anteaters throughout their historic range can help to alleviate these problems.
However, according to a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in only 10 years, more than 1.000.000 pangolins have been illegally traded, which makes them the most trafficked mammals in the world. Faced with this situation, CHANGE and WildAid continue to launch creative campaigns that aim to raise public awareness and warn the community about human behaviors that are threatening the ecological balance. These behaviors include hunting and illegally trading pangolin products, which directly threatens the survival of this species in the wild.
The short film “Guardians of the Wild” revolves around the characteristics of 4 Asian pangolin species: the Sunda pangolin, the Philippine pangolin, the Chinese pangolin, and the Indian pangolin. The images of the 4 species are personified in the images of 4 superheroes, protecting the villagers from the invasion of millions of legions of ants and termites. The viewers will be led into unexpected situations, funny scenes, and profound moments. In the end, the viewers will experience a completely different ending from the usual superhero genres.
To widely spread the message about the 4 pangolin species, the Guardians of the Wild campaign is supported and represented by artists who are our goodwill ambassadors: Top 5 Miss Universe 2018 H’Hen Nie, Actor Duy Khanh, Dancer Quang Dang, and MC-Journalist Trac Thuy Mieu. In addition, the film is voiced over by Actor Ngoc Trai.
Besides the short film “Guardians of the Wild”, the campaign also launches the microsite https://vebinhhoangda.org which provides general information about the campaign and scientific knowledge about the pangolin species. Moreover, young people who love the characters in the Guardians of the Wild can take a personality test to find out which character they correspond to. In addition to the microsite, CHANGE will carry out a series of communication activities on social media and LCD screens at shopping centers, buildings, and restaurants. The media products include posters and banners that carry the images of the campaign and the goodwill ambassadors.
The Guardians of the Wild campaign is the latest activity of the Long-term Pangolin Rescue Project initiated by CHANGE and WildAid in 2016 to reduce the demand for pangolins and pangolin products in Vietnam. This is achieved through creative communication activities that aim to raise awareness and change consumption habits, the mobilization of support from doctors and business leaders, the cooperation with law enforcement agencies and local authorities, and the mobilization of all communities to join hands to save this species from extinction.
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- The pangolin is the only mammal in the world whose body is covered with hard scales. There are 8 species of pangolin today worldwide, 4 species in Asia and 4 species in Africa. Vietnam is home to two species: the Javan Pangolin (Manis javanica) and the Yellow Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla), both of which are on the IUCN Red List of Critically Endangered Species and are protected by Vietnamese law. Any act of illegally hunting, killing, farming, capturing, transporting, and trading any parts of the pangolin individual will be subject to prosecution. Depending on the severity of the crime, violators can be sentenced up to 15 years in prison.
- THE INDIAN PANGOLIN (Manis crassicaudata) – Endangered: The largest Asian species ranges as far west as Pakistan. As with other pangolins, babies less than six months old ride on their mothers’ backs.
- THE SUNDA PANGOLIN (Manis javanica) – Critically Endangered: This ground and tree species is believed to be the most trafficked pangolin today. Scales help protect pangolins from bites when they feed on ants.”
- The Philippine pangolin or Palawan pangolin (Manis culionensis) – Critically endangered: This arboreal pangolin is endemic to Palawan and nearby Philippine islands. Hunters sometimes use dogs to track these and other pangolins.
- THE CHINESE PANGOLIN (Manis pentadactyla) – Critically endangered: The only pangolin that hibernates in winter has been poached so heavily that by the mid-1990s it had come close to extinction in China.”
- Similar to Africa, where there are many cases of the capture and confiscation of body parts, the top pangolin scales in the world are in Asia. Although Asia is home to more than four different species of pangolins, it is the continent with the most complex and severe pangolin poaching, transportation, and consumption issues in the world.
- Asia has up to 3 species of pangolins classified as Critically Endangered. In Vietnam, the Sunda Pangolin and the Chinese Pangolin are protected by Vietnamese law to the highest degree. These two species are listed in the List of endangered precious and rare species prioritized for protection promulgated together with Decree 160/2013/ND-CP (amended and supplemented by Decree 64/2019/ND-CP). Accordingly, any act of illegally hunting, killing, farming, capturing, transporting, and trading any parts of the pangolin individual will be subject to prosecution. According to WCS, over the past three decades, Vietnam has lost 80-90% of its domestic pangolin population due to illegal trade and consumption.
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WildAid is an environmental organization with the mission to stop the illegal wildlife trade. WildAid mainly focuses on reducing the demand for and consumption of wildlife products such as ivories, rhino horns, and shark fins through communication campaigns and supporting the strengthening of regulations and law enforcement. With the participation of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid mobilizes the support of media partners with a media value of more than 230 million dollars annually through a simple message: “When the buying stops, the killing can too”. Official website: https://wildaidvietnam.org/
CHANGE (Center of Hands-on Actions and Networking for Growth and Environment)
CHANGE is a Vietnamese NGO with the mission to address the country’s most critical environmental challenges, including wildlife trade, climate change, air pollution, and plastic pollution, through strategic communications, community empowerment, and cross-sector partnership.
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WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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