Meet Charles Emogor: The Cambridge student running for eight hours straight to help save the pangolins

Charles will be running 60 kilometres dressed in a pangolin suit

Charles Emogor, a Cambridge PhD student studying at St. Edmund’s College, will be running for eight hours straight dressed in a pangolin suit on Saturday 2oth February to raise money and awareness for the plight of the pangolins, one of the world’s most endangered species.

To celebrate World Pangolin Day, Charles will be running 60 kilometres to raise money for Save the Pangolins, a charity which funds crucial conservation work for the species in Africa and Asia.

Charles has currently raised over $4,400 and is fast approaching his initial fund-raising target of $5,000.

On the day before his charity run, the Tab Cambridge spoke to Charles about all things pangolin! Here is what he had to say…

A 60 kilometre run around Cambridge

Charles will be running from Eddington into and around the city centre multiple times and then out to Mill Road where he will turn around and run back. The planned route is around 60 kilometres and Charles will be running for eight hours straight, each hour for one of the eight species of pangolin, all while wearing a big pangolin suit!

Charles told the Tab: “I only got into running less than a year ago and the training has been all about pushing myself. Running has actually really helped me find my way around Cambridge!”

There seems to be a pangolin running around King’s Parade? (Image Credits: Charles Emogor)

Charles has been running a half marathon every weekend in preparation for the 60km and he trains with the “Cambridge Running Quartet”, a group of Charles and three friends that run together. He says: “We have been running together for a little while and it has been really inspirational, they always push me and it is great motivation.”

Why run for the pangolins?

Charles told the Tab that he has had a passion for the pangolin since he was a child growing up in Nigeria. He has since built on this passion and is currently a PhD student studying the white-bellied pangolin at the Department of Zoology.

Charles says: “Not only is this run to raise money and awareness for the pangolins, it’s a sort of childhood dream for me to be able to contribute to the conservation of species and their recovery.”

All eight species of pangolins are currently endangered, regularly trafficked for their scales which are said to hold medicinal properties. The animals are currently victims of an illegal international trade where they are targeted and killed both for their meat and their scales which are in high demand in China.

All eight species of the pangolin are currently endangered. (Image Credits: David Brossard via Wikimedia Commons)

In recent months, the pangolin has also been accused of spreading the coronavirus pandemic among humans with certain scientists stating that the pangolin could be the missing link in understanding the rapid spread of the virus. However, many scientists have since strongly disputed this theory.

Charles told the Tab that there is no better time than now to raise awareness for the pangolins as they are currently being wrongly targeted by those who believe they have a link to COVID-19. He says: “The pangolin is often overlooked, people only think tigers and elephants are endangered and many people know very little about the pangolin so now is the perfect time to raise awareness and to fundraise.”

The full body pangolin suit

Charles will be completing the whole run dressed in a full-body pangolin suit and he has been spotted around Cambridge wearing the suit in recent weeks.

He told the Tab: “The suit is really easy and comfortable to run in, the long tail at the back is full of light fluffy stuff so it doesn’t get in the way!”

The suit was made in Latvia and financed by Save the Pangolins and then sent to Charles for his fundraiser.

Supporting the pangolins

As Charles highlights, now is the best time to support the pangolins! If you would like to sponsor Charles, you can do so here.

Charles has also set up, and now runs, the @pangolino_org Instagram account, which helps to raise awareness of the pangolin conservation cause through art. He also runs Pangolino on Facebook and Twitter. In doing this, he hopes to end certain misconceptions, which only consider animals such as lions and pandas to be the only endangered species.

For Charles, the most important thing is that people have fun whilst supporting and promoting the cause. He encourages people to get involved and donate if they can. The Tab wishes you good luck on your run Charles!

Featured image credit: Charles Emogor 

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