Monitoring pangolin populations is important to inform their conservation. Pangolins are heavily hunted and poached in the wild for their meat and scales, both for local use and international trade, and all eight species are threatened with extinction. However, inhibiting effective conservation action for pangolins is a lack of knowledge on populations.

A radio-tagged Sunda pangolin about to be released back into the wild, which will be monitored post-release. Image: David Tan, Wildlife Reserves Singapore

This knowledge, including how many individuals exist within and between sites, and at the national and international level, would enable researchers, practitioners and conservation managers to better understand the impact and extent of exploitation, and facilitate the identification and prioritisation of key sites to focus on to conserve the species. The need for monitoring methods for pangolins has long been recognised within CITES, is captured in CITES Res. Conf. 17.10 on Conservation of and trade in pangolins, and in action plans developed for the species.

In 2017, the Pangolin Specialist Group initiated a body of work to advance the development of monitoring methods for pangolins. This entailed conducting two systematic literature reviews and holding an expert workshop to explore opportunities for monitoring the species and evaluate the potential of different monitoring approaches and sampling methods. Outputs from this work include a guidance document, which presents sampling methods with established, potential and theoretical application to the different species of pangolin and guidance on their implementation, which is available in English, French and Portuguese. Click on the buttons below to download the relevant document. They also include the two systematic literature reviews conducted to inform the workshop. A related paper on the use of camera trap bycatch to monitor pangolins is also relevant and is accessible below.


Pangolins in global camera trap data: Implications for ecological monitoring (Khwaja, et al., 2019) Evaluating methods for detecting and monitoring pangolin (Pholidata: Manidae) populations (Willcox, et al., 2019) Evaluation of the application of methods used to detect and monitor selected mammalian taxa to pangolin monitoring (Ingram, et al., 2019)
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