• DAY 276: ANTS WILL TAKE OVER THE WORLD AND EAT OUR FACES…unless we save the pangolin

    Jun 29 2013
    Pangolins are in a terrible hole? How can we help?.... read on...

    I shall save you from the ants…but you must save me. Pangolins are in a terribly dark place at the moment. How can we help?…. read on…

    For the last few days I’ve been living in a crappy bedroom by the forest spending much of my time clearing baby frogs from under my bed (WHERE DO THEY COME FROM??) and reading about pangos, photographing pangos and hanging out with LUCKY as though we might elope together. 

    We're off to tenerife to get wasted together

    We’re off to tenerife to get wasted together

    Here are some more essential pangolin facts including the little known notion that if they die out we may just be taken over by face-eating termites. Nevertheless, on a daily basis pangos are dying in bags rolled into balls staring at their own tiny penises ….not a way to go for such an important little creature.

    one of eight frogs I have now found under my bed and 'rescued'. What can I say, everyone wants to sleep with me...

    one of eight frogs I have now found under my bed and ‘rescued’. What can I say, everyone wants to sleep with me…

     

    ants will take over the world and eat your face...unless we save the pangolin

    ants will take over the world and eat your face…unless we save the pangolin

    1) WHY SHOULD I CARE? WHICH PANGOLINS EVER WROTE GREAT LITERATURE OR HELPED OLD PEOPLE ACROSS THE ROAD?

    Cuteness aside  pangolins are a vital part of the ecosystem. Kill them and the ants take over the world. Well, to be fair, we dont’ quite know but pangos do eat A LOT of ants and termites.

    But actually – forget that. Let’s be honest. As much as it matters, I don’t care about ants making lots of babies in the jungle and nor do you. If you were as eco-aware as that you’d sleep in a hemp bag and never read this blog because after all, electricity kills. Nevertheless the ants COULD get you.

    Well …how about this. A 70-million-year-old really cool species will go extinct, maybe in a decade or two.

    Actually – forget that too.

    Terribly controversial but I’ve never been as worried about extinction of a species as extinction of an individual. Shoot me now. Its not the idea of Pango as a taxonomic unit in a reference book with a latinate description that worries me as much as the thousands/millions of creatures that are utterly defenceless being killed in the most cruel way possible

    Pain is what hurts. Pain is what matters.

     

    I suffer

    Lucky again…

     

    2) OK, IF WELFARE IS THE ISSUE, HOW BAD IS THE SITUATION?

    Every day tens or even hundreds of pangolins are thought to be smuggled across the borders of Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia and China. Exact numbers are not known but we can make a good guess: SHIT LOADS.

    Conservative estimates assume that seizures represent 10% of the total haul. And in 2011 a single seizure of a boat caught 17tonnes of the meat. The zeros in the death toll are too big to fit in my brain. The senseless slow deaths are are horrifying as they are totally SILENT.

    'Lucky' occasionally gets pissed off and sulks in this corner, clinging to the fence. ..but not for long

    ‘Lucky’ occasionally gets pissed off and sulks in this corner, clinging to the fence. ..but not for long

     

    3) BUT YES, HAVE PANGOLINS EVER WRITTEN GREAT LITERATURE OR MUSIC? WHY SHOULD I CARE??

    Actually, yes.Listen to Life’s a Ball and Roll with me (by Adam and the Ants) or try reading…er…that really amazing book with a pangolin pun in the title that I’ve forgotten but is great.

    Lucky takes a while to wake up in the morning (which is his evening) but he gets there in the end...

    Lucky takes a while to wake up in the morning (which is his evening) but he gets there in the end…

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    4)  ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT…SO EXACTLY HOW ARE PANGOLINS CAUGHT?

    These are the nets they now use to catch which are considered more ‘humane’ (ie. the pangos die eating their own shit rather than being shot or hung with razor wire). This is not because the traders care about pangolins but because living pangos are worth more.

    They then inject them with water – or if they are lucky, excuse the pun – with rice starch to make them weigh more to sell on the market for profit.Pangolins often die of stomach ulcers caused by stress or the wrong food.

    I repeat – no pangolin has ever bitten anyone. No pangolin ever fought back or swore at anyone. They are innocent.

    The wonderful Phoung of the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program (CPCP) in Cuc phoung national park showing the nets that are used to 'humanely' capture the pangolins for the illegal trade

    The wonderful Phoung of the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program (CPCP) in Cuc phoung national park showing the nets that are used to ‘humanely’ capture the pangolins for the illegal trade

     

    Fattening up pangolins by holding them down and force feeding rice starch through a pipe. If the pipe goes down the windpipe they die

    Fattening up pangolins by holding them down and force feeding rice starch through a pipe. If the pipe goes down the windpipe they die. Courtesy of ENV vietnam, see link below for the story behind this image…

     

    read this:

    http://envietnam.org/E_News/Daily_News/Fattening_up_pangolins_to_earn_billions_of_VND.html

     

    5) WHY AREN’T THE VIETNAMESE DOING ANYTHING?

    They are.

    A fair bit. But its not making enough of a difference.  There are a huge number of protected parks and there are laws and there are great organisations like the rescue centre I visited (CPCP) or ENV (click here). The problem is that a) the wildlife trade is getting rampant because winnings are high and punishment is low b) the country is somewhat corrupt and politically sticky. We need global support for the current vietnamese efforts (as well as other countries)

    For example, when pangos are confiscated at the border a loophole in the law allows guards to sell them on for ‘sicentific benefit’, which ends up meaning to restaurants or back into the trade. Pangolins are saved and then sold back to the enemy. We hope for this loop hole to close very soon but it could take years.

    When we visit Lucky at night he hears us coming and sticks his snout through the door.

    When we visit Lucky at night he hears us coming and sticks his snout through the door.

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    6) WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT PREACHER MARTIN?

    Look, I know, I know. I feel like a chanting girl at a murder scene waving fluffy things around while crimes are being committed. And if you touch a pangolin it pretty much dies so what hope do I have? Elope with Lucky to a remote island and live off ants?  I’m trying damn hard: I’m going to try to get into the poaching areas or to the smuggling routes to at least witness the trade, but as one of you reminded me, this is a huge international criminal affair that doesn’t offer tourist sightseeing trips. And I’m not vietnamese – I’m 6’4″

     

    Food is stuffed and hidden in bamboo to make the pango work a little...

    Food is stuffed and hidden in bamboo to make the pango work a little…

    or put high up in containers covered with heavy stone...

    or put high up in containers covered with heavy stone…

    ...or stuffed away...

    …or stuffed away…

    7) IS ANYONE THAT IS MORE TALENTED AND POWERFUL THAN YOU, MARTIN, DOING ANYTHING USEFUL?

    For the first time ever, there is a world conference on pangolins happening RIGHT NOW (I think it actually finished today) . 50 of the top pangolin experts are rolling into Singapore to scale up their conservation efforts. The strange thing is WE STILL DON’T MUCH ABOUT THESE CREATURES so don’t think it’s all under control. It isn’t. But its a wonderful start. Dan Challender, Chris Shepherd et all – go protect!!

    http://www.pangolinsg.org/news/

     

     

    8) WHAT CAN I, THE BLOG READER,  DO TO HELP? 

    Strange as it sounds start by

    1)simple caring. Engage your head and heart. It does matter.

    2) Then tell others about it. Pass on this blog, read more about them

    3) Finally stop eating that pangolin burger and curing your baldness by balancing pangolin scales on your head. IT WON’T WORK. Go and pray to the moon – that will.

    4) If you visit LAOS, VIETNAM, MALAYSIA, CHINA, CAMBODIA be aware that you are in pango territory. You might want to read up about them, visit some conservation centres or make your feelings known to other travellers.

    5) donate  money to the very small and  frugal pangolin research centre that I stayed in (CPCP) who don’t yet have a web site and are not government supported. $1 cares for Lucky or any other pangolin for a whole day.  Send money to myself marked PANGOLIN and I will pass it on. Like their facebook site here

    6) Or support any of these with pangolin conservation programmes

     

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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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  • DAY 191: A PUPPY SAVED FROM THE DINNER TABLE!

    Apr 03 2013

     

    The ride home with the rescued dog. Time to piss all over Martin's legs

    The ride home with the rescued dog. Time to piss all over Martin’s legs

    I’m afraid we never managed to intercept a truck at night with dogs bound for the meat trade and with me dodging bullets – I apologise for the lack of drama and for not getting shot – but I do have some GOOD news.

    We saved a single, quivering, chained-up puppy from the dinner table.

    And I want to bring her home. Gulp.

    Meet MANGO. 

    MANGO - weird name, but curiously sweet

    MANGO – funny name, but curiously sweet

     

    Perhaps it’s for the best that we did not intercept a truck. Andrew told me that the stench alone of opening the  back of a vehicle full of dying dogs stuffed in bags and cages would be enough to stay with me for life. But all the same I’m frustrated. I came here to help.

    So instead we paid a trip to an area where the dog traders are known to live – and ply their trade. A small street on the outskirts of Manilla: charming, backwards, hot. Hot but chilling, because this is the very street where dogs are frequently purchased (or stolen) to then be shipped up to places like Baguio where they are made into stew. Mmmm.

    Andrew, Frank and Ros talk to a man on the street where dogs are frequently collected for dog meat. A few minutes later we saw the puppy

    Andrew, Frank and Ros talk to a man on the street where dogs are frequently collected for dog meat. A few minutes later we saw the puppy

    We almost missed the puppy. It was tied up in the shade by a small chain, shaking. The owner, who spoke no English, was more than happy to sell it for only $4.  A sure sign that when the dog was bigger and fatter he would have happily sold it on to the traders

    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.

    I called the puppy ‘Patrick’ at first after briefly checking he was a boy (I was filmed for a charity whilst checking his bits) and then found out later from the vet that he was in fact a her (I didn’t do GCSE biology – which is hardly an excuse).

    I then called her Mango. Erm. Mango are the most popular fruit here…and kind or…er…sweet.. (Just get over it!)

    The man was more than happy to sell the puppy for a few dollars.

    The man was more than happy to sell the puppy for a few dollars..and handle her roughly.

     

    Proud dad.

    Proud dad.

    She rode back in the car with me staring out at her old life passing away with no idea what that $4 could change so mcuh.

    And then, out of gratitude she peed all over my legs (does she own me now? Mango, I will be your lampost any day of the week) We took her to the best vets in the whole of the Philippines where she was checked over, de-ticked and kept in observation.

    Life and death is so brutal out here. And death is so pervasive out there that saving one dog may seem pointless: but it is a vote for life

    Waiting at the vets.

    Waiting at the vets.

    Check me out on this tall table...

    Er…what’s going on?

    Promise to get you a new home

    Promise to get you a new home

     

    Weirdly the vet was being filmed for Filipino TV when I came in for some reality show...when asked what I was doing here I made the fatal mistake of saying I liked Indonesia. I am now officially an idiot...ON INDONESIAN TV (i mean filipppino tv)

    Weirdly the vet was being filmed for Filipino TV when I came in for some reality show…when asked what I was doing here I made the fatal mistake of saying I liked Indonesia. I am now officially an idiot…ON INDONESIAN TV (i mean filipppino tv)

    A decent meal

    A decent meal

     

    Can Mangoes be imported to the UK?

    I’m now in serious trouble.

    I HAVE PROMISED TO GET THIS DOG BACK TO THE UK.

    Double gulp.

    I don’t want her to be another Cordelia.

    This little thing REALLY perked up when she had some attention. It will take months to get all the paperwork and tests together but I am determined. In the meantime she will stay with the vet’s mother but it is NOT a long term solution.

    There is no dog-shelter in the Philippines that I am leaving this dog in, there is no home we can be sure she will do well in and  I am determined that at some point this dog will be in the UK in a new home.

    One of my promises to Ann on starting this year was that I would help as much as I can – and travel –  but our house would not become a refuge centre…for spiders, hens or dogs.

    Alldogsmatter in the UK will help me find a loving home over here for this dog but in the meantime…

    ..it’s over $1000 to do it wth flights.

    AhhhhhhhhhhhH!!!!

    Next blog. I’m desperately selling portraits of Mango to try and get the money to fulfil my promise. Pls help!!! Let’s get this dog some 

    Mango poses with Ros...she became SUPER affectionate in no time once she had some food.

    Mango poses with Ros…she became SUPER affectionate in no time once she had some food.

     

    IMG_6704 IMG_6663

     

     

     

     

     

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  • Day 161: HUNTING A HUNTING DOG (part 1). Trying to catch an abandoned Galgo

    Feb 21 2013
    The town in which multiple abandoned Galgos had been seen

    The town in which multiple abandoned Galgos had been seen

    Could I spend a day trying to capture abandoned Galgos?

    How many abandoned Galgos are running loose throughout Spain anyway?

    How do you capture a very very fast Greyhound?

    How common is it to see tortured or dead Galgos?

    Click to read more >>>>

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  • Day 83: Crow rescue leads me up my friend’s chimney

    Dec 03 2012

    A crow has to be rescued from deep inside my friends dirty chimney  (as it were)

    Just before I head out to India I call my oldest, dearest friend, Harry to tell him I’m leaving.

    ‘Hang on, Mart, I can’t really speak now’ he says, groaning slightly, ‘ I’m in the middle of something’.

    ‘What’s up?’ Is he on the loo?

    ‘Er…. I’m just trying to pull a crow out from a chimney’

    I’m assuming that’s not a euphemism. ‘Really?’ I say.

    ‘It’s been stuck up my neighbours chimney for days’

    ‘Harry! That’s EXACTLY why you can speak to me! I’m spending a year helping animals! I’ll come down right now and save it from your chimney’. I’m really  hoping its not a  euphemism or else I’m taking my friendship to a new level

    Click to read more >>>>

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