The Pangolin Crisis Fund: hope for pangolins

Black bellied pangolin. Photo credit: Alexander Ley

Times of crisis bring watershed moments, turning points that inspire change. In a crisis we rise to a challenge, banding together to prevail. And since necessity is the mother of invention, a crisis is when we spark new ideas and forge new paths forward. 

This spirit of innovation and collaboration is at the heart of WCN’s Crisis and Recovery Funds. Many wildlife species face acute threats that endanger them throughout their entire habitat and at a level that jeopardizes their very existence. WCN establishes Crisis and Recovery Funds when we see a need and an opportunity to protect such a species. These Funds offer specific, short-term funding to projects from institutions big and small, harnessing the power of multiple organizations to save a species.

Today we are announcing that together with Save Pangolins and in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, we are launching the Pangolin Crisis Fund to help save one of the world’s most unique animals from extinction.

Pangolins, native to Africa and Asia, are truly one of a kind. Dressed head-to-toe in overlapping scales, they are affectionately described as ‘’walking artichokes”. Pangolins are also the most trafficked mammals in the world. All eight species of pangolins are experiencing a dual crisis. First, they are poached to supply a thriving illegal trade in their scales, meat, and body parts. Second, most people have never heard of pangolins, so their loss goes unnoticed. The Pangolin Crisis Fund’s strategy is, therefore, to eliminate the demand, trafficking, and poaching crisis that puts pangolins at risk of extinction, and to also raise awareness of this little-known animal. 

The Pangolin Crisis Fund is managed by WCN with technical oversight by Save Pangolins—leaders in pangolin conservation for over ten years—and marks the third Fund WCN has helped initiate. We first implemented this philanthropic model six years ago in response to a horrifying rise in elephant poaching and ivory trafficking, which prompted WCN and partner Save the Elephants to launch the Elephant Crisis Fund with support from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. In 2017, in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, we launched the Lion Recovery Fund to halt and reverse the rapid decline in African lions. With 100% of donations going directly to the field, these Funds have delivered vital support to exceptional organizations that are saving wildlife on the brink.

Recently, pangolins made back-to-back headlines as law enforcement agents in Singapore confiscated record numbers of their scales, signaling the loss of tens of thousands of pangolins. The global illegal pangolin trade must be eliminated if these loveable creatures are to survive. We believe this is possible if pangolin conservation, too long under-funded and under-resourced, is given the right support. The Pangolin Crisis Fund will seize the opportunity to increase funding for pangolin conservation and galvanize new efforts to protect pangolins in Africa and Asia. 

Pangolins have no time to lose, this is the time to save them, and we cannot do it alone. This is their watershed moment.

Please join us to give pangolins a fighting chance at

Support the Pangolin Crisis Fund

Wildlife Conservation Network and Save Pangolins extend our deepest thanks to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation for their partnership. Launching the PCF was only possible thanks to their support, and we are truly grateful for all of their efforts and for all they do to protect wildlife.

Last updated May 16, 2019

Through collaborative partnerships, we support innovative projects that protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction, while restoring balance to threatened ecosystems and communities. Our work is divided into six main program areas – Wildlands Conservation, Oceans Conservation, Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, Transforming California, and Innovative Solutions.

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