A collaborative awareness campaign between a silversmith, a photographer and a conservationist. Who would have thought that getting these three together would have created one of the most successful Pangolin awareness campaigns the world has ever seen.
Lisa Hywood, CEO and founder of The Tikki Hywood Foundation; “22 years ago, Negomo, an adult female pangolin, arrived in a used mealie meal sack, smelling and terrified. When I stared into the sack my heart started pounding as I had not the slightest idea of what to do, or how I would be able to help this desperate animal. This was my first rescued pangolin. Moving forward to today, I can say that the past two decades have been an incredible journey for myself and all of us at the Tikki Hywood Foundation.
No two pangolin are ever the same and even now with each new arrival I continue to learn about this enigmatic species. Thankfully the pangolin is now finding her voice globally and there are more people around the world today who have heard about the pangolin and the very real threat of extinction that lies ahead, if we do not take action now.”
Awareness is a vital component to bring to light the challenges facing any species and the Tikki Hywood Foundation this year has been incredibly fortunate in developing a collaborative partnership with world renowned photographer Adrian Steirn, who came to Zimbabwe recently to document an aspect of the rehabilitation process, of the Tikki Hywood Foundation and filmed a short documentary called, the Pangolin Men. The series features pangolin minders who work at the Tikki Hywood Foundation and have developed a relationship with the individual pangolin under their care. It also shows how vulnerable the pangolin is and why the Foundation’s supportive care is so vital in order for them to be able to be rehabilitated and returned back into the wild and given a second chance.
“This amazing opportunity between Adrian Steirn and ourselves was only made possible through the Patrick Mavros Family. The collaboration behind the pangolin project was born when Adrian Steirn met the Mavros family and heard about the development of a new collection of their celebrated jewellery simply entitled The Pangolin Collection, which was inspired by their long standing relationship with the species, and was designed to raise awareness and funds for the Tikki Hywood Foundation”
Whilst visiting Zimbabwe Adrian Steirn met Lisa Hywood and her staff and shot the series of exclusive ‘Pangolin Men’ portraits that have been used in the awareness campaign and released for sale.
Adrian Steirn commented: “These pangolin photographs represent a beautiful insight into a tragic reality. Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal on our planet yet most people have never heard of them, let alone seen a picture of one. Very few of us will ever see a pangolin in the wild so how can we expect people to care about their future? I wanted to take portraits using a creative direction that would be impactful enough to command attention, and to influence people so that they would take the time to know what pangolins are and to learn how dire their plight has become.”
Patrick Mavros Jnr started designing the pangolin collection nearly three years ago when he began to understand the severe situation that this species was facing. The Pangolin Collection of jewellery was created using the traditional technique of lost wax casting and features pieces in three precious metals, Sterling Silver, 18CT Yellow Gold and 18CT Rose Gold. For the first time in Patrick Mavros’ history, a limited edition collection of pave diamond set pangolin pieces has also been created.
Patrick Mavros Jnr said: “We are delighted to present this very special collection inspired by one of the world’s most gentle and remarkable animals, the ground pangolin. The sighting of a pangolin is considered to be a great privilege and the luckiest of all experiences to have in the bush. We hope that this collection captures the extraordinary beauty of the pangolin and encourages our clients to understand more about this little known, but incredibly threatened species.”
Pangolins are the world’s most trafficked mammal, with more than a million animals trafficked in the last decade. In September 2016, the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) unanimously agreed on an up listing of all 8 species of pangolin from Appendix II to Appendix I. This means that there is now a total ban on all pangolin trade both in Africa and Asia where the 8 species of pangolin are found, highlighting the critical nature of the threat to the species and the global consensus behind its importance.
Lisa Hywood said: “I have been fortunate and privileged to have discovered the magic of the pangolin over the past 22 years. Each experience is unique and teaches me more than I thought possible about this species. It breaks my heart to know how the greed of mankind is pushing this animal to the brink of extinction. Time is running out for the pangolin, so we all need to take action. Extinction is forever and I believe that it is our duty and responsibility to make sure the pangolin does not become a myth in storybooks!”
The limited edition series of “Pangolin Man” portraits will join The Pangolin Collection of jewellery, also launched this month by luxury brand Patrick Mavros, in benefitting the Tikki Hywood Foundation, with 10% of sales revenues from each being donated to support its work.