The Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission and A Rocha Ghana have organized a Pangolin Conservation Education program for 9 basic schools in Accra. The program was put together to raise awareness on World Pangolin Day which fell on 17th February, 2024.

World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of February, every year. The awareness creation event also affords participating schools’ students to join a World Pangolin Day Poem Contest initiated by A Rocha Ghana. Students are required to write a poem of not more than 150 words about pangolin conservation. The best poem will be selected, announced and featured in a pangolin children’s book, alongside other interesting reward packages.

The 5-day sensitization event from 12th to 16th March, 2024 involved schools such as the Achimota Basic 1 and 2, Achimota; Kids at Heart International School, North Legon; T. I. Ahmadiyyah International School, Agbogba; Mars Hill School Complex, Labadi; Learning Skills International School, Adjiringanor; Brainy Bairn School, Westlands; Aggrey Basic School, (Anumele Cluster of Schools) Achimota; and Abofu Presby School, Abofu, all in Accra.

As part of the exercise, an exhibit of a pangolin was used to help the young ones have practical knowledge and feel of what a pangolin looks like.

The enthusiastic and elated school pupils fully participated in the program by asking probing and smart questions, and as well providing intelligent answers during the Q & A sessions. They were rewarded with some pangolin educational stickers, chocolates and candies.

Heads and teachers of the various schools for the exercise were equally excited about the pangolin educational program, and called for more of such for their students.

Consequently, the Wildlife Division used this program as an avenue to educate the public, on the need to protect and conserve these animals, through the young ones.

At the end of the day, over 1,200 pupils and students from the kindergarten level through to Junior High, together with their teachers, were educated on topics like, what Pangolins are, the types in Ghana and the world, areas where they inhabit, the body features, food they eat, their importance for the ecosystem, the threats they face and why they are endangered, and why we need to conserve them, among others.

The Pangolin is one of the most trafficked wild animal species in the world, and as such classified as an endangered species, and wholly protected by law in Ghana. According to estimates provided by conservationists, 10,000 pangolins are trafficked in a year. These unique animals are trafficked mostly for their scales which is used in Chinese medicines to cure certain kinds of ailments. As well as for their meat by people, mostly Africans, who consider it as a delicacy.

Pangolins are found in Asia and Africa, with 8 different types in the world. Ghana has 3 which are the White-bellied pangolin, Black-bellied pangolin and Giant Ground pangolin, mostly found in rainforest, grassland and savanna areas. They eat ants and termites and as such regulate the population of insects for the environment.

Lead facilitators of the sensitization were Public Relations Manager, WD, Ms Ernestina Anie; Program Support Officer, A Rocha Ghana, Stephanie Nkansah and Commercial Development Manager WD, Ms Cornelia Danso together with other staff of the Public Relations and Commercial Development units and the Accra Zoo.