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Conservation of pangolins given hope at the 1st IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group Conservation Conference

The IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group has teamed up with Wildlife Reserves Singapore to organise the first ever global conference on pangolin conservation. Themed ‘Scaling up pangolin conservation’ the four day event from 24 – 27 June being held at WRS’ Night Safari aims to devise an overarching conservation strategy for pangolins worldwide, informed through the presentation of recent research, as well as input into formal IUCN Red List assessments.

Professor Jonathan Baillie, Conservation Programmes Director at the Zoological Society of London and Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group said, “This is a landmark event in pangolin conservation, we will have 50 researchers from around the world gathered to set a road-map for conserving pangolins over the next decade. Especially important here is formulating ways to reduce demand for pangolins in Asia.”

While they may look like walking pine-cones, pangolins, or scaly-anteaters as they are also known, are one of the most trafficked mammals in Asia, and increasingly, in Africa. Globally, they are illegally traded in their tens of thousands each year. This trade is primarily to China and Vietnam where they are considered a delicacy and their scales used in traditional medicines. “Rapid action is urgently needed if pangolins in Africa and Asia are to be conserved given the rate at which they are being exploited for East Asian luxury markets,” commented Dan Challender, Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group and doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology.

The inaugural pangolin conference is co-organised, hosted and sponsored by Wildlife Reserves Singapore and the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund (WRSCF). Since its inception in 2009, the Fund has supported various projects and conferences. Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer at Wildlife Reserves Singapore said, “For years WRS has been working on helping our critically endangered species locally, via research and captive breeding. We are very pleased to co-organise and host this event, bringing together the foremost pangolin experts in the world, striving to find a strategy that will help this group of unique animals globally.”

To further raise public awareness to the plight faced by the pangolins, a free for public seminar on pangolin conservation will be held on 28 June from 12.30pm – 4pm at the Forest Lodge in Singapore Zoo with a series of four talks by experts:

  • Trade in wildlife for meat and medicines pushing Southeast Asian species towards extinction by Chris Shepherd, Acting Regional Director for TRAFFIC in South-East Asia
  • From the IUCN SSC and new technology for addressing illegal wildlife trade by Jonathan Baillie, Conservation Programmes Director at the Zoological Society of London and Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group
  • The pangolin trade in Asia by Dan Challender, Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group and doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE)
  • Pangolins of Singapore: In situ and ex situ conservation efforts by Razak Jaffar, Assistant Curator, Night Safari, Wildlife Reserves Singapore

For more information or to attend please contact Yap Xinli at [email protected] by 21st June 2013.