Pangolins are anteaters that are covered in scales similar to Armadillos but they live mostly in Asia. They are harmless creatures that have existed for 80 million years but they now have the ominous status of being the most heavily trafficked mammal in the world. Mostly that is because of bushmeat markets and unscrupulous brokers of illegal wildlife products (IWP) who falsely proclaim that pangolin scales have medicinal properties and are the natural cure for untold ailments.
Scientific evidence indicates that COVID 19 made the jump to humans from bats and Pangolins in the wet markets of China. In response to the pandemic, the Prime Minister of Vietnam issued a Directive on the prohibition, consumption and trade of illegal wildlife products including Pangolins and other bushmeats.
Within the Vietnamese political structure, the Communist Party Propaganda Committee (CPPC) is a powerful government agency and the influence of the Communist Party is even greater than the Constitution and Laws. This agency controls the media arts, film and literature and it has authority over 4 million communist party members, who are high-ranking government officials and also wildlife/bushmeat consumers.
WildLife Canada Society contracted Change Vietnam to conduct research within that group to determine their level of commitment to protecting wildlife, curbing illegal wildlife trade, and protecting against zoonotic epidemics. Based on our positive results we contracted Change VN to promote those causes using workshops within the party to highlight wildlife consumption issues. Also, to have that message added to the Handbook for Communist Party Members and to distribute that information and the new regulations to the Communist Party branches in all sixty Provinces. All of these programs resulted in a greater acceptance of the Prime Minister’s Directive. That acceptance will ease the pressure of helpless Pangolins and other wild victims of the Illegal Wildlife Trade.