We know and love Lush cosmetics for their commitment to producing natural products and their strong policy against animal testing, but now there is another reason to love this cosmetic retailer…Lush has just agreed to fund a project in Sabaha to end the illegal poaching of the Sunda Pangolin!

While its name may lead you to believe it is a penguin, panda hybrid of some sort, the Pangolin is actually a scaly anteater species that it is listed as critically endangered on Malaysia’s protected species list.

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Pangolins are poached for their scales and meat which is largely sold in markets in China, although according to a report from Bernama, “bush meat [is] often offered for sale in rural markets.” They are also believed to have medicinal qualities in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The issue of pangolin poaching was brought into the spotlight in 2010 when nearly 22,000 pangolins were traded in just over a year’s time. The pangolin is considered the most heavily trafficked animal in the world. While there are local laws that protect the pangolin, there are no international trade laws against its transport.

Making the protection of the pangolin a priority, Dr Laurentius Ambu, the Sabah Wildlife Department director, explains in a statement to the press that, “in this new project we have chosen to use the lesser known but charismatic Sunda pangolin as an icon in the campaign to raise awareness about endangered animals in Sabah.”

The program will take a two-pronged approach to help protect the Pangolin, first by reaching out to,  “rural communities to engage their participation in conservation by reporting wildlife crime when they see it and to increase awareness among rural communities of which animals are protected by law.” And secondly, the hope to target, “tourists from China and Hong Kong who visit Sabah every year,” to garner their support as well.

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Lush is certainly a company the not only talks the talk about the need for greater protection of animals, but walks the walk. Finding this project is the first step of many to come, but hopefully the pangolin will be out of danger soon.