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Our Story

The House of Manidae is the world’s only brick-and-mortar store dedicate to pangolin conservation. Our goal is to raise awareness of ongoing efforts to save the pangolin from rampant trafficking, and to ultimately help save them from the brink of extinction.

Pangolins are currently being hunted across the world for their scales. In Africa, one pangolin is taken from the wild every five minutes. While their scales provide protection against natural predators, superstitions about their medical properties make them targets for poachers. 

We believe that pangolins are unique and beautiful animals, and deserve the right to share this earth with us, without suffering from man’s most destructive instincts. We asked ourselves what we could do to stem the growing tide of pangolin trafficking, and decided to raise awareness within our own communities first. 

When you walk into the House of Manidae, you’ll notice that some products are not branded with the House of Manidae brand. There’s a simple reason for that: they’re not made by the House of Manidae! Our founders, Glen-John and Jana Hoffman, dreamed up the House of Manidae while they lived in Cape Town. However, there are so many creative, talented, and entrepreneurial minds at work in Southern Africa, that we offered them a platform to showcase their own products within the House of Manidae store, but distinct from the House of Manidae brand. Much of the proceeds from non-House of Manidae products go directly to the local artisans who produced them, as opposed to Pangolin conservation efforts. 

At the end of the day, we at House of Manidae are looking to support Africa: her wildlife, and her people. According to our partners at the Africa Foundation and &Beyond, the best way to do that is by raising awareness. You can help us in our goal to raise awareness about the plight of the pangolin by visiting the store, falling in love with some of our items, or telling your friends about the work being done to save this magnificent creature.


FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions


What is a Pangolin?

Pangolins are the world's only scaled mammal. They eat up to 72 million ants and termites annually with tongues the length of their bodies, and walk on two legs. Their scales are valued around the world, which makes them a prime target for trafficking. Every five minutes, a pangolin is removed from the wild. We believe that the 85 million year old pangolin has a way to go yet, so we're doing what we can to help. 

And they’re related to armadillos?

Not at all! Despite sharing a striking resemblance, pangolins are more closely related to dogs and cats than they are to armadillos. Pangolins are mammals, and despite curling into a tight ball when threatened, they breastfeed their young. 

How is the House of Manidae helping to secure the future of the pangolins? 

At House of Manidae there are no qualified biologists who could help with pangolin conservation efforts on the ground. Instead, we help those who are doing the conservation work on the ground by raising awareness about both pangolins and the conservation efforts underway to protect them. 

Around our store you’ll notice a variety of educational materials that we encourage you to read and take home with you. These provide you with information about what exactly pangolins are, why they are in danger, and what’s being done to protect them. We also have posters created by graduate art students in Cape Town in-store which creatively illustrate the beauty of pangolins and the dangers that threaten them.

Many people still aren’t aware that pangolins are animals, much less that they are in grave danger. Our partners tell us that what they need most is for people to care about the pangolin. By raising awareness at the community level, both in Southern Africa and the USA, we can give conservationists the spotlight they need to do the best work they can. This way, cultural norms and values can shift so as to pressure governments to take stronger regulatory measures against pangolin eradication. In the words of Nelson Mandela, 

“Ultimately conservation is about people. If you don’t have sustainable development around these [wildlife] parks, then people will have no interest in them, and the parks will not survive.”

Who are you partnering with? If you’re not doing the boots-on-the-ground conservation, who is?

When it comes to pangolin conservation, The House of Manidae is a partner of both &Beyond and The Africa Foundation. 

The Africa Foundation was founded in 1992 with the aim of up-skilling and empowering people in rural communities. It supports the development of sustainable projects that empower communities and contribute to the conservation of Africa’s land and wildlife. In practical terms, The Africa Foundation helps rural communities acquire new skills and knowledge about their environment, which they can then put to use by becoming involved in on-going conservation projects. 

&Beyond is a key partner to the Africa Foundation’s efforts. The South African model of conservation is a little different from the US model, in that it makes more use of public-private partnerships than Americans might be used to. &Beyond is an example of the public-private partnership model in practice. They are best known for the villas, game reserves, and getaways they provide not only in southern Africa, but around the world. More than just a resort getaway, &Beyond are committed stewards of the lands they have been entrusted with. As such, they organise a number of educational programmes, outreach efforts, and conservation programmes. For example, &Beyond’s community conservation course runs six months long and teaches participants proper land management, research and monitoring, wildlife management, and field guiding. This program is also the first of its kind in the world to offer a model on pangolin monitoring! With help from the Africa Foundation, &Beyond also runs a programme with primary schools in Southern Africa dedicated to providing school with reaching resources and lessons that expose children &Beyond’s game reserves and the value of conservation.

Our work at the House of Manidae strives to spotlight the work conducted by these two organisations where the conservation of pangolins is concerned. By raising awareness of their efforts, we are helping their work reach audiences worldwide. 

I’m seeing a lot of other names here. What’s that about?

Not all the products you see on the shelves at House of Manidae are made by the House of Manidae. During our time in South Africa, we got to know some exceptionally talented and entrepreneurial artisans. Part of our floor space is dedicated to showcasing their beautiful work, further bridging the cultural divide between the US and Southern Africa. 

Do you only sell clothes? 

Absolutely not. We sell art from up-and-coming South African artists, jewelry, leatherwork, sculptures, home goods, and more. We regularly rotate our inventory, so check us out when you can! 

Where can I learn more about pangolins and the House of Manidae? 

Check us out here!