The project was about pangolins and their possible contribution to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as scientists had earlier suspected. The bigger picture however, was the illegal trade of the pangolin and how African countries have contributed to this trade. Using data from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), we were able to show just how widely spread the trade is and the impact it has had on the critically endangered species.
The project showed us as writes just how important data is in our everyday storytelling. For the audience, it became a point of learning about pangolins and our conributions as African to their plight.
We used excel sheets, python and Floruish to analyze and visualize the data in the best way we could without loosing the essence of the story. The visualizations are simple and interactive to allow the reader to engage more with the data.
What was the hardest part of this project?
Analyzing the data and finding a way the best and simplest way of visualizing it for our readers was the hardest part but in the end it was more than a fulfilling experience. The jury should understand that using public data sometimes has inconsistencies and loop holes and in that way may not represent the full picture at hand, as in the case with the CITES data. Some pangolin trade transactions are not on record they took place. However, what is available provides a good peek into the bigger picture of the trade.
What can others learn from this project?
Incorporating data into stories gives the story more credibility and room for creativity in terms of visualizations. Humanizing the data is even a greater way of showing the realities around us and the extent to which different societal issues affect us both directly and indirectly.