Dave was away travelling again. It was me and the girls taking on the world; this translates as I was an exhausted mother and dreamed of going to bed at 7 pm! My great friend Sarah Davies invited me to the WCP - Wildlife Crime Prevention outdoor movie night featuring The Eye of the Pangolin by Bruce Young & Yohan Vermeulen. I looked at my friend, who I deeply admire for her conservation efforts and her open-hearted attitude to bringing people into the debate. I swallowed and nervously looked down at my feet. Could I get out of this? Could I not just give my kids supper and get them into bed on time….?
"Of course," I said! Later that day, I bundled us into the car and drove the 30 minutes to my friend's office. I was utterly unprepared, no jumpers or food for the kids, and they were grumpy on arrival. Oh God, how was this going to work? Would they really sit quietly and watch a wildlife film with me? Was it going to be another one of those mother moments where I wanted the ground to swallow me up?
My biggest relief was the marshmallows and hot chocolate on offer.. that would keep the little ones quiet for a good 20 whiles! The film started.. in total silence, so the WCP had to go back and fiddle with some knobs and restart the projector. This is standard practice for people from the bush. Our technology rarely works. We blame the remote location, but I sometimes suspect it's the type of people who live in the remote location that is the real problem. We can handle navigating elephants crossing the road, we can remove venomous snakes from our homes. But can we work our laptops?!
As soon as the film' Eye of the Pangolin' started, with sound, I was transfixed. My heart wanted to burst to be honest. It would be tough to see a Pangolin and not want to protect it. What a beautiful animal and what a gentle soul. The usual frustration and anger bubbled up in me. What is wrong with us? Why do humans seek to destroy harmless, beautiful creatures for bizarre egotistic, fictional needs? Then the positivity in my nature came through as it always does. But Kate looks at these wonderful people giving their life to protecting it. Aren't humans special? Focus on the good in humanity and visualize all that can be done when this is celebrated. I looked around the crowd of people watching and willing the Pangolin to be protected. I looked up at the starry sky and looked down at my wonderful girls gripped by the story. My heart burst with that feeling I get when I see the good in people and all we can do. I loved the filmmaker and narrator in turn, their commitment, courage, passion, desire to share, and bringing people along with them to make this world better. I was utterly inspired.
I made up my mind to do a Pangolin design right there. I knew it was a small contribution, but it was positive, it was my contribution, and it felt right.
We drove home in the dark. Both girls bawling their eyes out from over-tiredness. I felt this quiet happiness that I had pushed our boundaries. I saw how captivated they had been and what a positive experience it had been. I reminded myself to always push to experience this beautiful world.
The next day the girls were full of chatter about the Pangolin. They were angry that it was in danger and noted logically it was ridiculous to harm it. I am so glad my girls are learning this early. I am so glad people feel compelled to share meaningful stories that, in turn, encourage us to stand up for what matters. I love that this is done through positivity and bringing people together.
And that is how the Pangolin design came to be! A design that takes hours to create by hand using snare wire. That is inspired by these beautiful animals' scales. So that people think snare wire has mystical powers instead. Well, at least we are turning that brutal wire into a force for this rare animals protection. Thank you for helping us do it.
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DPNW) is the government wing responsible for the significant task of managing Zambia’s vast protected areas. Wildlife Crime Prevention’s (WCP) work together with DNPW on a daily basis in order to strengthen conservation in Zambia by reducing the illegal wildlife trade across Zambia and neighboring countries throughout the region.
Zambia is a vital range state for many elephant populations, a stronghold for significant carnivore populations as well as a number of other rare and endangered species. Zambia is located at the centre of several Southern African transit networks. Illegal wildlife products, including those from neighbouring countries, are transported from and through Zambia destined for a variety of transit routes and markets, often ultimately ending up in Asia.
Protect the Pangolins is the only Pangolin Protection, Rehabilitation and Release Programme in Zambia. The programme is a unique collaboration between the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife, the UNZA School of Veterinary Medicine and WCP | Wildlife Crime Prevention.
Inspired by these beautiful creatures, the Pangolin design mimics the overlay of each pangolin scale. One on top of each other. Created with repurposed snare wire, that is collected by the DNPW, each piece takes an average of 2 hours to create by hand (the bracelet taking nearly 3 hours) and is so physical that we work to a one day on, one day off rule when making it. Every sale donates to both anti snare patrols and the Pangolin Crisis Fund. Wearing it connects you with very special like-minded souls and our workshop and team in the South Luangwa National Park.
Shop the Pangolin Collection Here