Pangolins Are Being Eaten to Extinction


I had a reader complain about this cartoon today:

pangolin cartoon



She emailed: So …the white polar bear can just go ahead and eat part of a still alive creature AND THAT’S supposed to be funny – really?  I am now officially sorry that this particular strip is in my daily paper – I’m thinking there are other choices that are not quite so lame and gross – if you are trying to bring the idea that climate change is a bad thing, perhaps you want stay away from the image that a cartoon polar bear eats a part of a cartoon character while it still talks.  Really?  This cartoon did not impress me and did not make me laugh and made me reconsider its humor entirely.  I must say, I was disappointed.

My reply:

Firstly, I’m sorry that you were offended by the pangolin cartoon.
Pangolins are critically endangered creatures because they are being eaten in real life. No-one in the west seems to care about this enough to stop it (they don’t have the power of the elephant, or rhino, or panda).
I care. I also want people to take note of what is happening. This is a cartoon and no real pangolins were hurt in its creation. But by being on the brink of offensive, it may make people think, or even act.
I’d urge you to protest about the real pangolins which are being eaten to extinction. You can join the protest here:
Many thanks for reading Arctic Circle and thank you for caring.



8 thoughts on “Pangolins Are Being Eaten to Extinction

  1. I’m not sure if it’s the issue of pangolins so much as the polar bear who seems to eat whoever he wants with impunity. In the weeks I’ve been following the strip, he’s eaten several skiers and the crossfit instructor. I find it hard to believe he hasn’t been turned into a rug by this point.
    I stay because of the eco-humor, but indiscriminate eating of sentients is why I stopped reading Sherman’s Lagoon.

  2. Having myself lived so long in the Arctic, I know that Polar Bears will eat anything and everything and have no problem with this strip. They are not just cute little “Knute”s, they are people eaters too.

  3. I’d never heard of pangolins until this strip ran. Which, if a lot of other people are the same way, at least partly explains why so many don’t care about them.

  4. alex, you have broken the rules of sunday comics. In America, the full-color sunday “funnies” are by and large for children. your strip Arctic Circle is in the guise and style of many “cute” comics that form an unspoken contract with parents and familys: “This is a safe place”. we choose to face the various harsh realities of life on our own terms and our own schedule. By forcing your own special agenda into this safe-place (where we should not see cute creatures dismembered, hands (not paws) amputated, etc you have broken that trust. Now you’re just another of those comics we tell the kids NOT to read. Charles Schulz and Bill Watterson snuck important concepts into their strips, and that is in the tradition of syndicated strips in America. what you’ve achieved is losing 5 readers permanently and disappointing us all. The relative merits of your pet “cause” are irrelevant: we all have causes we believe in passionately.

    • I’ve replied to you personally, via email and apologise unreservedly.

      All environmental causes are important me. This is only the second pangolin strip out of thousands published. However, no cause is important enough to upset children in the Sunday comics.

      I had hoped to depict violence in the tradition of Tom and Jerry. Clearly I failed and I’ll be mindful of this from now on.

      • thank you for your kind reply, Alex. I’m sorry for being harsh: my kids just have a thing about losing hands, etc. With a little more distance today, I can really appreciate what you are doing with your art and your wide audience, and we strongly admire you for making a difference and shaking up the status quo: we’ll definitely keep reading, and thank you for working to help the Earth and all her creatures

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