A mother and baby pangolin recorded by researchers of the Katala Foundation during a field expedition for the USAID-funded study on Philippine pangolins. | Photo by USAID and Katala Foundation, Inc.

The town of Roxas has lent support to a province-wide campaign to protect the critically endangered pangolin, locally known as “balintong”, launching on Saturday February 20 its 1st Municipal Pangolin Day.

Its kick-off activity was a cycling event dubbed “Padyak Para Kay Balintong”,  which was joined by local cyclists doing a ride from People’s Park to Sitio Itabiak, Barangay Dumarao.

Dr. Sabine Schoppe speaks during the bike ride for pangolin protection in the town of Roxas in northern Palawan. | Photo by Palawan News

Participants of the padyak included members of the PCSDS, Katala Foundation, Roxas ECAN Board, Tamed but Fierce Bikers of Marine Battalion Landing Team-3 (MBLT-3), Padyak Agila of 3rd Marine Brigade, Roxas Budol Bikers, and other cyclists from different organizations.

Cristy Rodriguez of Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) said  the activity is a form of a campaign to protect the animal in accordance with the Municipal Ordinance No. 780 Series of 2020 entitled “Declaring the Philippine Pangolin or Palawan Pangolin (Manis Culionensis) as the Flagship Species of the Municipality of Roxas, Palawan, Providing for its Protection and Conservation and Appropriating Funds thereof.”

Roxas Mayor Dennis Sabando addresses the attendees of the “Padyak Para Kay Balintong”, a municipal government-led project to conserve and protect the pangolins (balintong) in the province of Palawan. | Photo by Palawan News

She stated that Barangays Dumarao, Mendoza and Sandoval are considered as habitat of Pangolin in town.

Dr. Sabinne Schoppe, director of the Palawan Freshwater Turtles and Pangolin Programs, said that protecting the pangolin will even help the town’s cashew industry as the animal performs an important role in natural pest control.

“Mag a-assist sila sa pagbawas ng peste kagaya ng anay dahil pagkain nila ‘yon. Isa sa ginagawa nila ay pest control lalo na dito sa Roxas ay maraming cashew plantation at isa sa peste sa kanila ay ang mga anay,” Dr. Schoppe said.

Pangolins are a prized target of poaching due to its high demand for medicinal and other purposes.

“Itong Philippine Pangolin ay dito lang makikita sa Palawan. Ito ay very expensive, ginagawang shoes or bags, isa rin itong delicacy sa China. Dahil sa pagkolekta sa kanila, ang kanilang population ay nabawasan na kaya isa na ito ngayong critically endangered,” she said.

Mayor Dennis Sabando also called the public to be aware of the importance of the Pangolin.

“Nagkaroon tayo ng ganitong aktibidad dahil ang Pangolin ay isa sa nauubos nang hayop dito sa atin. Sa pamamagitan nito sana may maalagaan natin sila,” Sabando said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.