Conservation

Conservation

The most recent IUCN Red List of Threatened Species status assessments listed two Asian species of pangolin as Endangered. Pangolins worldwide are subject to a number of threats including hunting for illicit international trade, which takes place on a huge scale despite domestic and international legal prohibitions (click here for more information). With two exceptions, there are no population estimates for any species of pangolin anywhere and little is known about pangolin ecology and biology or their conservation needs (see here), making it difficult to determine the severity of these threats to pangolin populations.

A range of conservation and research projects are being conducted by PangolinSG members and there is significant scope and need for future research on a broad range of pangolin conservation issues.

ActionRationaleCountry
Region
Priority
1 – 4
(1=highest)
Cost
(GBP)
CommenceTimescaleResponsible stakeholdersProgress
CONSERVATION RESEARCH
Monitoring
Develop protocols for monitoring pangolin abundanceProtocols need to be developed for pangolins and subsets of species to gain information about populations, and where to focus conservation effortsAll range states190000201424 monthsPangolin SG

Postdoctoral researchers
SOS and ZSL
Being investigated as part of a two year project at key sites in Thailand – In progress
Interactive online seizure databaseThis information will help to define the extent of the trade and potential trade dynamicsAll range states13000020158 monthsPangolin SG

NGOs
IUCN SSC PangolinSG
Database of pangolin seizures in Asia built by Dan Challender and being maintained – In progress

ENV
Established a wildlife crime unit in 2005 and publicly report consumer targeted pangolin crimes – In progress

APWG and THT
Collating a database of pangolin seizures Zimbabwe and Africa wide – In progress
Development of a pangolin price indexTo track the retail price of pangolins in range states and in key demand countriesKey range/demand states225000
per year
2015On-goingPangolin SG

NGOs

Researchers
IUCN SSC PangolinSG
Database of pangolin prices in key consumer markets built by Dan Challender and being maintained – In progress
Development of a consumption indexSurveys in Asian and African end use markets to understand demand demographics and attitudes, and to inform the development of demand reduction strategiesAsia (China/Vietnam)
&
Africa
1400000201510 years

5 replicates
Pangolin SG

Researchers
SOS and ZSL
Implementing a project to understand demand in China – In progress

DICE, University of Kent
Recently conducted research into demand in China and Vietnam, publications include the below with others forthcoming – In progress

Challender, D.W.S., Harrop, S.R., and MacMillan, D.C. (2015). Understanding markets to conserve trade-threatened species in CITES. Biological Conservation 187, 249-259.

APWG, TUT and NZG
Researching pangolin use as a traditional medicine and for bush-meat in West Africa – In progress

Researching the customary beliefs and traditional use of Smutsia temminckii within South African tribal communities – In progress

ENV
Conducting surveys of ~100 Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) outlets in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, assessing the values and use of pangolin products. Survey results integrated into awareness raising activities – In progress

Also, conducting rapid assessment surveys of ~1000 urban residents in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, assessing the prevalence and use of pangolin products – In progress. Survey results will be integrated into a demand reduction strategy – Planned for 2015

Will produce an annual assessment on pangolin trade, profiling both smuggling and consumer trade in Vietnam – Planned in 2015
Conservation Breeding
Protocols developed for conservation breeding of pangolinsTo ensure best practice is followed in conservation breedingAsia & Africa48000020155 yearsExisting conservation centresIUCN SSC PangolinSG
Written husbandry guidelines for pangolins in captivity – In progress

THT
Drafting a manual on husbandry and neonatal care for Smutsia temminckii – In progress

OSU
Semi-captive breeding of pangolins in Nigeria is to be conducted for research purposes – Planned for 2015
Development of rehabilitation and reintroduction protocolsTo ensure best practice is followed in rehabilitation and reintroductionAsia & Africa31000020146 monthsExisting conservation centresAPWG, FM & THT
Drafting a rehabilitation and reintroduction protocol for Smutsia temminckii – In progress

KFBG
A Wildlife Rescue Centre has been established in Hong Kong. To date the centre has received 9 pangolins, 6 of which have been successfully treated and returned to the wild – In progress

OSU
Semi-captive breeding of pangolins in Nigeria is to be conducted for research purposes – Planned for 2015

THT
Documenting pangolin behaviour gathered during the rehabilitation process – In progress
Behaviour and Ecology
Define habitat suitability for all eight speciesThis is important for niche modelling to help identify sites where the species may be present and to identify potential reintroduction sitesAll range countries445000201512 monthsPostdoctoral researcherSOS and ZSL
Being investigated as part of a two-year project at key sites in Thailand – In progress

OSU
Collating data on habitat suitability for pangolin populations in Nigeria – Planned for 2015
Understanding home range, movement, distribution of pangolins through time and population dynamicsUnderstanding pangolin ecology will allow us to better understand their conservation needsAll range countries330000020164 yearsPangolin SG

Postdoctoral researchers

PhD students

NGOs
APWG, TU and UP
Research has been conducted on ‘behavioural ecology and conservation biology of Smutsia temminckii in the Kalahari Desert– publications forthcoming – In progress

APWG
Mapping the past and present distribution of pangolins in Africa – In progress

KFBG
The Kadoorie Conservation China team (KCC) is conducting camera trap surveys in 4 provinces of China (within the range of Manis pentadactyla) along with interview surveys to investigate trends of local extirpation – In progress

KFI
Conducting abundance surveys and a telemetry study for Manis culionensis – In progress

OSU
Collating data on pangolin population sizes, gender and age distribution in Nigeria – In progress

THT
Collating data on pangolin sightings in Zimbabwe – In progress
Genetics
DNA analysis to identify population genetic variation within and between speciesWhen seizures occur it is important to understand where source populations come from to piece together trade dynamicsAll range states25000020144 yearsAfrican Pangolin Working Group

Other specialist partners
KFBG
The Genetics Lab (under the Flora Conservation Department of Hong Kong) is using DNA forensics to identify species and provenance of seized pangolin scales to investigate and monitor illegal trade. A summary report is pending – In progress

THT
Collating genetic samples from all pangolins that come through the rescue centre in Zimbabwe – In progress
Spatial and phylogenetic variation of all pangolin species to distinguish species, sub-species and significant evolutionary unitsThis information is needed to better target conservation efforts aiming to conserve genetic diversityAll range states410000020154 yearsAfrican Pangolin Working Group

Other specialist partners
APWG, NZG, THT, TUT and UFS
Research has been conducted on ‘Molecular insights into the genetic variation of Smutsia temminckii populations in southern Africa’ – publication forthcoming – In progress

Research being conducted into the evolutionary history of Smutsia temminckii – In progress

APWG, NZG and TUT
Researching Pan-African phylo-geography and the evolution of pangolins – In progress

OSU
Researching the degree of genetic isolation among populations of Phataginus tricuspis in Nigeria – In progress
PANGOLIN STRONGHOLDS
Identify pangolin strongholds, starting with priority countriesTo set national-level conservation priorities. Ultimately these will be aggregated to the global scaleAll range states120000
per country
201518 months
per country
Pangolin SG

NGOs

MSc/PhD students
IUCN SSC PangolinSG
Identified potential and likely pangolin strongholds globally which require verification – In progress
Implement or support patrol-based monitoring at sites with high pangolin densitiesTo safeguard known healthy populations of pangolinsAll range states140000
per site
2015On-goingPangolin SG

United for Wildlife

Government agencies
SOS and ZSL
Being implemented at key sites in Thailand and Cameroon as part of two year project – In progress

United for Wildlife
Implementation planned at 231 sites globally – In progress

THT
Supporting pangolin release sites and building training capacity for local scouts in Zimbabwe – In progress
Education and outreach with local communities within or near pangolin strongholdsTo engender local community support for pangolin conservationAll range states210000

per site
20153 yearsPangolin SG

NGOs
SOS and ZSL
Community outreach being undertaken at key sites in Thailand and Cameroon as part of a two year project – In progress

THT
Conducting education and outreach programmes with local communities within or near pangolin strongholds in Zimbabwe – In progress

Raising awareness of pangolin conservation directly with local community Chiefs and council of Chiefs in Zimbabwe – In progress
Pilot livelihood interventionsTo ensure that local people have alternatives to poaching pangolinsAll range states250000
per site
(4 in total)
20164 yearsNGOs
POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
CITES
Representation of Pangolin SG at CITES CoPs and other inter-sessional meetingsTo inform national and international policy on the conservation of and trade in pangolins directlyAll range states150002014On-goingPangolin SGIUCN SSC PangolinSG
Formed part of IUCN delegation at CITES CoP16 and Standing Committee 65 meetings. Also a member of the CITES Standing Committee inter-sessional working group on pangolin trade and conservation.

THT
Attended CITES Standing Committee 65 meeting.
Liaison with CITES Parties, and other researchers on the sustainability of exploitationTo help build the evidence base on the impact of trade on populations, and to inform appropriate policy decisionsAll range states1200020143 yearsPangolin SGIUCN SSC PangolinSG
Member of CITES Standing Committee inter-sessional working group on pangolin trade and conservation – In progress

Delivery of key presentations at First Pangolin Range States meeting, Da Nang, Vietnam, June 2015 – In progress
Liaison with appropriate stakeholders to review potential CoP proposalsTo critically evaluate, and provide expertise on such proposals through appropriate channelsAll range states1200020143 yearsPangolin SGIUCN SSC PangolinSG
To review proposals as appropriate – In progress
Legislation
Review gaps in current legislation protecting pangolins and identify alternativesUnderstanding gaps will enable us to target our efforts to amend legislation for pangolin conservationAll range states240000201512 monthsLegal firmDLA Piper
Undertaking gap analyses and review of legislation affording protection to pangolins in Asia and Africa – In progress

APWG and THT
Research on ‘A perspective of legislation pertaining to African pangolins’ submitted for publication – In progress

ENV
Will review Vietnam’s criminal code and address conflicts in current regulations regarding punishment for serious wildlife crimes – Planned for 2015

Will help prevent legislation from coming into force that could legalise pangolin farming – Planned for 2015
Greater transparency surrounding stockpiles and disposal of seized pangolins and pangolin products in China and VietnamTo understand the supply of pangolin scales to current markets, given reported stockpiles exist. An open and transparent review of stockpiles would explicate current supply, enabling further actions to be takenChina & Vietnam15000020152 yearsPangolin SG

CITES

Government agencies
IUCN SSC PangolinSG
Part of the CITES Standing Committee inter-sessional working group collating information on pangolin trade and conservation, including on stockpiles.
Enforcement
Provide training and materials for enforcement officials in Asia, Africa, Europe and US, to increase awareness and capacity for enforcementTo increase awareness of law and trade dynamics and increase ability to enforce pangolin legislationAll range states plus Europe & US120000020152 yearsPangolin SG

NGOs
SOS and ZSL
Training for rangers and eco-guards on SMART implementation being delivered at key sites in Thailand and Cameroon as part of a two year project – In progress

ENV
Providing guidance to Vietnamese provincial governments on the new status of pangolins and actions required involving pangolin seizures, following the inclusion of pangolins under Decree 160 (species fully protected under the law) – In progress

Collaborating and securing agreements with a number of Vietnamese provinces to assist with handling confiscated pangolins – In progress

Established a Vietnamese wildlife crime unit in 2005 and actively investigating pangolin smuggling/trade cases – In progress

Maintaining an informant network that continues to provide intelligence on criminal networks, resulting in a number of enforcement interventions in Vietnam – In progress

THT
Drafting a handbook pertaining to endangered and locally protected species (incl. Smutsia temminckii) for dissemination to Zimbabwean magistrates, public prosecutors, police, national parks, anti-poaching staff and other interest groups – In progress

Providing communication and transportation assistance to pangolin related cases and assisting in preparation and maintenance of documents with specific references to wildlife crime in Zimbabwe – In progress
DEMAND REDUCTION, BEHAVIOUR CHANGE AND AWARENESS RAISING
Reducing demand for meat and scales
Development and implementation of demand reduction strategy for pangolin meat and scalesImplementing a demand reduction strategy is the single most important activity to address the decline in pangolinsChina & Vietnam1200000020154 yearsPangolin SG

Appointed consultants
SOS and ZSL
Implementing a project to develop understanding of and to address demand in China – In progress

ENV
Planning a demand reduction campaign targeting TCM outlets in ~16 Vietnamese cities, with the aim of securing voluntary compliance in removing pangolin products for sale – Planned for 2015

Planning a consumer-based demand reduction campaign targeting pangolin crimes in restaurants and TCM shops, with the aim of reducing pangolin crime by 60-80% – Planned for 2015
Raising the profile of pangolins globally
Digital media and awareness raising campaign to raise the profile of pangolins globallyA digital strategy including video, photos, gaming and social media is essential for getting public, government and donor buy-in to pangolin conservationGlobal (especially China & Vietnam)1100000020162 yearsPangolin SG

Appointed consultants
IUCN SSC PangolinSG
On-going social media campaigns to raise awareness of pangolins, including celebrating World Pangolin Day – In progress

United for Wildlife
Launch of a digital media campaign on pangolins in which reached an estimated 9 million people and the launch of a pangolin ‘Angry birds’ game which was played over 8 million times within a week. Other activities ongoing – In progress

APWG
Continually updating APWG social media streams and website under review – In progress

ENV
Implementing an awareness raising campaign targeting online businesses advertising and selling pangolin products in Vietnam – In progress

Integrating pangolin awareness activities into all outreach activities including University seminars, wildlife trade events, ENV’s monthly ‘Voice of Vietnam’ radio show on wildlife protection, viral campaigns and through printed materials produced and distributed by ENV – In progress

Conducting a consumer crime enforcement campaign in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam, with the view to expand to other areas, targeting businesses advertising and selling pangolin products – In progress

Featuring pangolins in an awareness raising campaign to be featured in ~100 major public markets nationwide, 8-10 government ministry offices and employee entrances of more than 100 companies in Vietnam – In progress

Public service announcements focusing on reducing demand for pangolin products are expected to air on 50-60 TV stations in Vietnam for 2 months, as well as feature in supermarkets and on viral channels – Planned for 2015

KFBG
Featuring a pangolin exhibit in the reception centre of the Botanic Gardens in Hong Kong – In progress

Highlighting pangolin rescue stories on KFBG social media streams – In progress

THT
Produced printed material campaigns, state media and pay for view television advertising (including production of TV adverts) and independent filming of Pangolins for educational purposes – In progress

Collating a database of pangolin related interactions with the public in Zimbabwe – In progress
Engage the arts community to promote the plight of pangolinsThe arts community will reach a broad and new audience, many of which have resources and connections that could aid pangolin conservationGlobal1500002015On-goingPangolin SGIUCN SSC PangolinSG
Presentation focused on pangolins delivered at the Serpentine Gallery in London during a weekend long Extinction Marathon - an event where artists, writers, scientists, film-makers and musicians explored the topic of extinction through talks, performances and screenings – Completed
Engage the major foundations in pangolin conservationTo free up funding for pangolin conservation foundations need to be aware that pangolins are the most illegally traded wild mammals on the planetGlobal120002014On-goingPangolin SGIUCN SSC PangolinSG
Pangolins are a focal species for the United for Wildlife partnership and included for protection within numerous large funding proposals – In progress
Engage opinion formers (especially in China and Vietnam)If harnessed, opinion formers can rapidly change behaviourChina & Vietnam1200002014On-goingPangolin SG

Pangolin SG Members
APWG African Pangolin Working Group
ENV Education for Nature – Vietnam
FM Free Me Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre – Johannesburg, South Africa
KFBG Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden – Hong Kong
KFI Katala Foundation Inc. – Philippines
NZG National Zoological Gardens of South Africa – Pretoria, South Africa
OSU Osun State University – Osogbo, Nigeria
PSG IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group
SOS Save Our Species
THT Tikki Hywood Trust – Harare, Zimbabwe
TUT Tshwane University of Technology – Pretoria, South Africa
UP University of Pretoria, Department of Anatomy and Physiology – Pretoria, South Africa
UFS University of the Free State – Bloemfontein, South Africa