Written by: Alexandra Olivieri
“Ready everyone?” asked Alegria. “Yes. Pump it for pangolins!” – 29 curled up people shouted back.
Using a conservation themed treasure hunt and some traditional Ugandan dancing lessons, Elliot, Alegria, and Aakash tricked us into joining them in the “pump it for pangolins” challenge. Seeing that World Pangolin Day is on the 21st of February, it seemed only appropriate for us (conservation students) to do as many crunches as possible in 21 seconds. Why crunches you ask? So that we would feel and look like a curled up pangolin.
Studying conservation is a rollercoaster ride. It can either be the most fulfilling experience as your learn how everything fits in a perfect system, or it can be utterly depressing if you choose to focus on the well known negatives such as extinction, the illegal wildlife trade and lack of resources. On a bad week, this is exactly what happened to Elliot as he spiraled down reading the latest news about the pangolin trade. Lucky for us – and hopefully for pangolins, Elliot is a resilient person and in his mind he brewed a plan. By Friday afternoon he had teamed up with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Pangolin Specialist group to involve all 29 of us in the course in raising awareness for the plight of these prehistoric, artichoke-resembling creatures.
Watch the #PumpItForPangolin campaign’s video here:
Through a social media campaign that we decided to call #pumpit4pangolins we’re aiming to get as many people as possible involved by either taking on the challenge and nominating friends and family to join in, or by directly donating GBP£8 (GBP£1 for each species) to the IUCN-SSC Pangolin Specialist Group (all proceeds will go directly to them).
We invite you all to join and share your videos on Facebook or Twitter under #pumpit4pangolins. Magical things can happen when you’re willing to put yourself out there – despite a bit of entertaining public embarrassment – for a greater cause. That’s the world we chose to believe in, ordinary people making a difference in wildlife conservation.
If you wish to join us in the challenge and learn more facts about the pangolins and their illegal trade you can visit our web page; #PumpItForPangolins