• DAY 273: AND THE MYSTERY CREATURE IS….A PANGOLIN!!!! (never heard of it??)

    Jun 26 2013
    The young pangolin. Why do so few people care about these incredible creatures?

    The young pangolin. Why do so few people care about these incredible creatures? I am in Vietnam to find out.

    At a fairly young age we learnt that a good way to deal with misery in the world was to crawl into a ball. I guess we can blame our mother’s womb.

    But not much later we also learnt that crawling into a ball was not a good long term solution. There are still days when I’m tempted to roll under my duvet and look at my navel but I’ve learnt  that it is always more productive to get up and face the world.

    The pangolin never learnt this lesson. It is a small scaly anteater that looks much like a pine cone on legs and which has the dubious title of being the the world’s most illegally traded mamal and a creature you may never have heard of.

    A perfect ball!

    A perfect ball!

    Although Pangolins have nice wide eyes they mostly use their noses to find their way and food.

    Although Pangolins have nice wide eyes they mostly use their noses to find their way and food.

    That is because for 70 million (70 million!!) it has been gloriously successful at defending a solitary ecological niche by using its unique scaley armour to fend of all manner of attacks…yes, by crawling into a perfect ball. It is a marvel of survival. It has been around even longer than the Apple 1 computer.  Until now. While it’s defence mechanism is perfect against tigers it is not so good against poachers with a simple plastic bag. The creatures have no teeth and are completely defenceless against being picked up, put in bags, then traded and killed for their meat and scales.

    Pangolins are incredibly agile and strong and can hang from their tails whilst looking for food.

    Pangolins are incredibly agile and strong and can hang from their tails whilst looking for food.

    Pangolins are being decimated by the illegal wildlife trade at such a rate that David Blaine could well hire them for a vanishing act. Although the Chinese (yes, those pesky Chinese) have always had a taste for pangolin meat and held a belief that their scales (which are made of keratin, essentially no different from our fingernails) can cure all manner of ills, including DEATH, in the last ten to fifteen years the trade has boomed due to ease of international travel and communication.

    Baby pangolins already have very well developed protection and tails

    Baby pangolins already have very well developed protection and tails

     

    The baby pangolin will live on its mother's back for a number of weeks before being able to travel on its own

    The baby pangolin will live on its mother’s back for a number of weeks before being able to travel on its own

    Giddy-up!

    Giddy-up!

     

    Even if pangolin trades are intercepted they have very little chance of survival as the stress of the travel and their unique diets make them extremely vulnerable

    Getting into a ball does little to stop the traders picking you up. Even if pangolin traders are intercepted the pangolins have very little chance of survival as the stress of the travel and their unique diets make them extremely vulnerable to stomach ulcers and fatigue

     

    Out in Vietnam

    The pangolin is totally f**cked. Excuse my Swedish, but this is real bad.

    And I am out in Vietnam, one of the natural habitats and hotspots for illegal trade, to find out more.

     

    A VERY ROUGH MAP!! VIETNAM AT THE HEART OF THE PANGOLIN TRADE

    A VERY ROUGH MAP!! VIETNAM AT THE HEART OF THE PANGOLIN TRADE (and me lost somewhere in the middle)

     

    Experts that I have spoken to fear that some of the Asian species, of which there are four (there are four in Africa too) may become extinct in the next decade or so and that trade is now so unsustainable that it is moving to Africa where new flight paths can ship these defenceless creatures to….yeh, you guessed, it China.

    I’m totally enchanted by Pangolins. I hope you will be too after the next few days. They are the unsung hero of the wildlife trade. Curiously one of the main reasons they suffer is because no-one cares about them so there is very little public and therefore poltical will to stop the trade. They are not as sexy as Tigers or as grand as elephants or as charismatic as rhinos but …

    THEY ROLL INTO A PERFECT BALL.

    What’s not to like?

    Pangolins are often caught in a trap that consists of bamboo sticks that lead them into a net. Once they are in a ball they net is shut tight and they are transported - living - like this for days.

    Pangolins are often caught in a trap that consists of bamboo sticks that lead them into a net. Once they are in a ball they net is shut tight and they are transported – living – like this for days.

    Boiled

    Boiled

    Their name Pangolin comes from the malay word for ‘Roller’ in fact. And damn, are they cute too. They have no teeth, are deeply shy, come out at night, only eat termites and ants, climb trees, hang from their tails upside down, have little black eyes and get scared real easy.

    But when they are caught they don’t survive for long. They are driven across borders alive (living animals are always valued more), often injected with water to increase their weight or force fed the wrong food. They normally perish in a few days because of a)stress b)they can’t go to the loo when they are rolled up c) they can’t drink…

    (excuse me for a second while I take a breath…I’m sitting in a Vietnamese restaurant outside Hanoi eating spinach and rice and my neighbor just ordered a chicken. I suddenly heard the chicken squawk with a cut to the throat…phew, I’ve gone meat-free just in time)

    In China - and in Vietnam - pangolin meat is considered a delicacy especially amongst the business community. This is a rich person's past time with a kilo or live pangolin reaching up to 500USD on the market.

    In China – and in Vietnam – pangolin meat is considered a delicacy especially amongst the business community. This is a rich person’s past time with a kilo or live pangolin reaching up to 500USD on the market.

    The scales of Pangolins are stripped for use in Chinese medicine even though their efficacy has not been proved. Their meat is prized for food.

    The scales of Pangolins are stripped for use in Chinese medicine even though their efficacy has not been proved. Their meat is prized for food.

    A very silent pain

    OK…back to the pangos. The pangolins are suffering a vast and deeply SILENT pain that is getting worse by the moment. This is our last chance to try and save them and we can all play a part. While they may seem prehistoric or even mythical these are beautiful creatures and campaigners admit that a key issue is raising awareness amongst the public

    I want you to knock on your neighbours door and tell them that ‘Pangolin’s are bloody amazing’ and then get into a perfect ball and roll back to your house. We HAVE TO GET THE WORD OUT. Please…KEEP READING OVER NEXT FEW DAYS.

    I’m out here in Vietnam for two weeks to do my bit.

    What can I do? I have NO IDEA!!!! I’m really at a loss (ask Ann who I wailed to on the phone the other day saying I had no idea what I was doing)

    But I’ve come to a sanctuary in Cuc Phuong National Park where they have a wonderfully named ‘Pangolorium’ to meet some of these creatures and then follow my nose from there. They only have a handful of these creatures because they are so hard to keep in captivity but many many pangolins are harvested from or travel through Vietnam and Laos. If I don’t get anywhere I can always climb into a ball and I know I’ll be safe.

     

    MORE ABOUT PANGOLINS:

    A nice website

    http://savepangolins.org/what-is-a-pangolin/

     

    More specialist info:

    http://www.pangolinsg.org/

     

    WATCH DAVID ATTENBOROUGH LIST PANGOLINS AS ONE OF HIS TOP TEN CREATURES TO SAVE:

     

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  • DAY 261: 24 HOURS FROM DEATH AND NOW BRITAIN’S CUTEST STAFFY?

    Jun 13 2013

    4Y1A7808

    It’s been quite a while since I ran the campaign to find Britain’s Cutest Staffy with the wonderful All Dogs Matter charity. Finally… I have some images of the winner, Jess, a gorgeous black staffie that visited the studio recently.

    It so happens that Jess is a rescue staffie.

    Her story is typical of so many like her. Kate, her owner, describes it in her own words:

    “Jess was on death row, 24 hours away from being put to sleep before she was rescued by the charity. We lost our previous Staffie after 13 years so was looking to adopt when Jess came along. After having her for 48 hours she was rushed to the vets and underwent an emergency operation for Pyometra. The vets removed 2 kilo of womb and infection from her and said it was the worst case they’d seen. She is now the Mascot for Room for One More Staffie Rescue, and we would not be without her.”

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    Kate and partner with Jess – one very happy dog.

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    Looking back on that campaign I realise it was a bit of a shambles. My fault entirely.

    I had no idea what I was doing and consequently raised almost no money for the wonderful All Dogs Matter charity and I never even got the number of the winner of the puppy section (whose dog is no probably big enough to pull a truck). I  wonder too if I have changed anyone’s minds about these beautiful dogs. Except my own. Which is something. Through meeting many of them I’ve come to know them as gentle, warm creatures. I really hope more people realise that too.

     

    4Y1A7399 4Y1A7450 4Y1A7442 4Y1A7526

    4Y1A7512 4Y1A75104Y1A7643 4Y1A7674

     

    Jess is right there at the top in number 1 position!

    winners

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  • DAY 221: UPDATE ON DELHI STREET PUPPY

    May 07 2013
    Tammy with new bandage who is now safe at the Frendicoes rescue centre in Delhi.

    Tammy with new bandage who is now safe at the Frendicoes rescue centre in Delhi.

    I wanted to check up on the little Delhi street dog with the leg scar that had followed me the other day.

    ‘Tommy’, (who is in fact a girl – let’s call her Tammy for now) ended up being taken to a charity shelter called ‘Friendicoes’, which happens to be the dog shelter started and run by Kartick’s working partner at Wildlife SOS, Geeta Seshamani

    I went to visit the shelter and Tammy bounded up to me perfectly happy despite the large strapping on her legs that had been put on to treat the wound.

    'Tammy' rushes to play with me. Puppies seem to be immune to a certain amount of misery.

    ‘Tammy’ rushes to play with me. Puppies seem to be immune to a certain amount of misery.

    Tammy posing

    Tammy posing

    Friendicoes, a dog sanctuary/charity in Delhi

    Friendicoes, the dog sanctuary/charity in Delhi

    Geeta Seshamani, who runs the dog sanctuary Frendicoes and also co-runs Wildlife SOS, posing with some of her rescued dogs

    Geeta Seshamani, who runs the dog sanctuary Frendicoes and also co-runs Wildlife SOS, posing with some of her rescued dogs

    People waiting to be seen at Frendicoes

    People waiting to be seen at Frendicoes

    The enthusiasm of youth seems to immunise puppies from a certain amount of pain. And now her life had changed completely and she didn’t seem too fazed – from a dirty car park to a rescue centre and soon…she’ll be going to a new home.

    While I was at the centre I looked around at the other dogs there. Whereever you go in the world there is a level of brutality to some dogs that is hard to understand.

    Another dog that came in with severe burns. Sometimes people throw battery acid over dogs they don't like.

    Another dog that came in with severe burns. Sometimes people throw battery acid over dogs they don’t like.

    This dog was attacked multiple times with a knife. Who knows why...

    This dog was attacked multiple times with a knife. Who knows why…

    This dog had his lower jaw totally crushed in an accident but is now already able to eat again thanks to the help of Frendicoes

    This dog had his lower jaw totally crushed in an accident but is now already able to eat again thanks to the help of Frendicoes

    Tammy is going to be cared for until she recovers and then they’ll look to find her a new life.  I’ll try and keep up with her story but if anyone wants to donate directly to the centre they are desperately in need of cash (or to me, marked ‘TAMMY’ and  I’ll make sure its passed on to her directly)

    Tammy with an old man hanging outside the rescue cetnre

    Tammy with an old man hanging outside the rescue cetnre

     

    A dog watches the scenery outside the rescue centre

    A dog watches the scenery outside the rescue centre

     

    As per usual you can buy any prints from this blog according to the sizes of the prints here, marking your donation TAMMY so I can make sure it gets to them.

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  • DAY 191: BUY PRINTS TO GIVE MANGO A NEW LIFE

    Apr 04 2013

    bringmangohome

    Meet Mango. She is the puppy that  Network forAnimals and myself rescued from the street where they sell dogs for the meat trade. I want to bring her home by selling prints of her. Please help!

    Shivering, chained to a wall and covered in ticks we bought her for $4 and got her to a vet. Now I desperately want to bring her back to the UK for a new life. It will take a few months…and some money.

    I’ve stupidly promised to bring her back. But to do so I will need at least £750.

    I need your help! I know you’ve given so much already but now I’ve gone and done it…I want to give a puppy a whole new life and somehow we are going to make it happen. Many many other dogs like mango don’t have this chance.

    TO SEE THE PRINTS SCROLL DOWN

    This is how we found the puppy, chained to a wall in a dark corridor. We think she is 3 months old.

    This is how we found the puppy, chained to a wall in a dark corridor. We think she is 3 months old.

    The street where they sell dogs for meat

    The street where they sell dogs for meat and where we bought Mango for $4

    TO BUY ONE OF THE BELOW PRINTS OR TO SIMPLY DONATE PLEASE CLICK HERE AND MARK AS ‘MANGO’ (see info on choosing prints below)

    All money will go to his vets bills, his care, his travel and finding him a loving home.

    I will keep you updated as to his progress as money comes in. THANK YOU!!!

     

    HOW TO BUY PRINTS

    1. Choose which images you want (note the NAME in capitals below each image)

    2. Choose the size (available sizes marked under each image)

    3. Add up the price

    4. Add packaging/post costs

    UK – £10

    EU- £15

    Rest of World – £20

    5. Hit the big red DONATE button or click here and send the total WITH A FULL DESCRIPTION OF EACH IMAGE AND SIZE WANTED.

    DON’T FORGET POSTAGE AND ALL IMAGE DESCRIPTIONS. IF YOU WANT ANY IMAGES WITHOUT LETTERING PLEASE SAY SO

     

    MANGO SIMPLE PORTRAIT Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    MANGO SIMPLE PORTRAIT No. 1  Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    STOP THE MEAT TRADE 16" £35+PP /  24" £60+PP

    STOP THE MEAT TRADE. Longest edge: 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    FISH AND CHIPS Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    FISH AND CHIPS Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

     

    MANGO SIMPLE PORTRAIT  NO.2 Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    MANGO SIMPLE PORTRAIT NO.2 Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    HANGING OUT: Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    HANGING OUT: Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    BRING ME HOME: Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    BRING ME HOME: Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    JUST SITTING: Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    JUST SITTING: Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    THAT UGLY MAN AND MANGO Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    ME AND MANGO Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    SO SLEEPY Longest edge: 12" £20 / 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    SO SLEEPY Longest edge: 12″ £25 / 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

    SAVE MANGO Longest edge: 16" £35+PP / 24" £60+PP

    SAVE MANGO Longest edge: 16″ £50+PP / 24″ £75+PP

     

     

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