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N E W S
TRAFFIC Bulletin Vol. 28 No. 1 (2016) 19
On Scaling Up Pangolin Conservation
IntroductIon
Pangolins have until recently received limited
biological and ecological research effort and
little conservation attention and investment,
despite an increasing extinction risk for all
eight species (e.g., Challender et al., 2014;
Waterman et al., 2014). It is understood populations of
Asian pangolins (Chinese Pangolin Manis pentadactyla,
Sunda Pangolin M. javanica, Indian Pangolin
M. crassicaudata and Philippine Pangolin M. culionensis)
have declined steeply, trends which are predicted to
continue (Challender et al., 2014). This is attributed
primarily to overexploitation for international trade,
largely to supply demand in East Asia, both historical
and contemporary, and legal and illegal, and has involved
skins, meat and scales (Challender et al., 2015). It is also
due to local use across the geographic range of the species
and habitat loss and alteration (Challender et al., 2014).
Although fewer data are available for African
pangolins (Black-bellied Pangolin Phataginus
tetradactyla, White-bellied Pangolin P. tricuspis, Giant
Pangolin Smutsia gigantea and Temminck’s Ground
Pangolin S. temminckii), these species have long been
hunted and poached for bushmeat and use in traditional
African bush medicine, and recent research suggests
exploitation for local consumption is increasing in
Africa (Ingram et al., 2016). Furthermore, a growing
intercontinental and illegal trade involving African
pangolins and their derivatives, primarily their scales,
to supply demand in East and South-east Asia is a
developing and worrying trend (Challender and Hywood,
2012; Gomez et al., 2016). Other threats include habitat
loss and degradation (Waterman et al., 2014) and for
Temminck’s Ground Pangolin specically, electrocution
from electric fences (see Pietersen et al., 2014).
trade dynamIcs
The current pressure on global pangolin populations
seems to have been stimulated by the commercial
depletion of populations of pangolins in China (SATCM,
1996; Zhang, 2008), which saw annual harvests of
around 160 000 specimens during the 1960s to 1980s
(see Zhang, 2008), and a simultaneous trade in tens of
thousands of specimens from South-east Asia to Taiwan
(see Challender et al., 2015). As a consequence, by
the 1990s increasing numbers of pangolins were being
imported to China from Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet
Nam (Newton et al., 2008), as well as South Asia (Anon.,
1999), a trade that continues today (Challender et al.,
2015) and which now includes specimens from Pakistan,
the most western reach of the species’ range in Asia
(Mahmood et al., 2012). The decline of Asian pangolin
populations, and crucially, the increasing economic and
development ties between East Asia and many African
countries in recent years (e.g., see Wang and Bio-Tchané,
2008), has resulted in a growing illegal trade in African
pangolin parts to Asian markets (e.g., Gomez et al.,
2016). Since 2009, there have been seizures involving
pangolin derivatives implicating Angola, Cameroon,
Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Côte
d’Ivoire, Guinea, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra
Leone, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Zambia in the trade.
This trade has taken place despite protection afforded
to pangolins through national legislation—though to
varying degrees—and through CITES (see Challender
et al., 2015; Waterman et al., 2014). Based on seizure
data and a comparatively conservative extrapolation
parameter, it is estimated that upwards of one million
pangolins have been traded illegally since the year
2000 (IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group, 2016).
Unfortunately, conservation organizations have been
slow to realise this crisis, and even slower to act.
catalysIng conservatIon actIon
In response to the apparent precarious status of pangolins
in the wild and increasing extinction risk, there has been
a growing, global pangolin conservation movement
in recent years. Here the authors report on some of the
activities that have taken place to address the conservation
concerns for pangolins, including efforts undertaken
since the re-establishment of the IUCN Species Survival
Commission (SSC) Pangolin Specialist Group in 2012.
The Group recognizes those individuals and organizations
who, over the years, have dedicated their invaluable
efforts into researching, protecting and safeguarding
pangolins, and helping to bring the species to the public’s
awareness. And how, through the collective capacity of
its members, the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group is
contributing to conservation actions for pangolins at the
local, national and global scale and enhancing the ability
and capacity to respond to the challenges pangolins face.
The hitherto largely overlooked threat of trade
to pangolins in Asia was addressed at a workshop
convened by TRAFFIC in 2008, which served to focus
international attention on the issue for the rst time
(see Pantel and Chin, 2009). At the meeting, a range of
scientists, government and NGO stakeholders set out to
examine the extent of illegal trade in pangolins native to
the South and South-east Asia region and to devise key
conservation actions to address them.
Similarly, in 2011, the African Pangolin Working
Group (APWG) was formed to further the conservation
and protection of all four African pangolin species by
generating knowledge, developing partnerships and
creating public awareness and education initiatives.
Since that time, the group has undertaken research
on the behaviour and ecology of African pangolins,
has investigated the molecular structure of pangolin
populations in different African countries, and
investigated local use and trade, as well as hosted the
rst international APWG Pangolin Conference in South
Africa in October 2015.
Also, in 2014, the Singapore Pangolin Working
Group (SPWG) was formed with the aim of better co-
ordinating local conservation, research and outreach
N E W S
20 TRAFFIC Bulletin Vol. 28 No. 1 (2016)
efforts for pangolins. The SPWG brings together varied
stakeholders in pangolin conservation biannually from
both government and non-governmental organizations.
Already noticeable impacts are increased public
awareness of pangolin conservation. For example, Arts
Fission’s Young People Environmental Dance-Theatre
Production was inspired to raise awareness about the
threat of extinction of pangolins in their annual production
in The National Library, Singapore, 2015, and a range of
other projects have also been initiated.
At the global level, the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist
Group was re-established in recognition of the deteriorating
conservation status of pangolins, and the tangible
conservation benets that could be reaped by engaging
researchers, social scientists, biologists, veterinarians
and conservation practitioners within a network of expert
volunteers under the auspices of an IUCN SSC Specialist
Group (see Challender et al., 2012). Since then, there have
been a number of advances in consolidating knowledge
and understanding of pangolins and the threats they face,
and in catalysing conservation action.
First, representatives of the IUCN SSC Pangolin
Specialist Group attend CITES meetings to inform the
Parties and raise awareness of pangolin trade issues.
Since 2013, the Specialist Group has attended each
meeting of the CITES Animals Committee, Standing
Committee and the Conference of the Parties (CoP), with
the aim of informing CITES Parties and Committees
in their decision-making. This has taken place through
the holding of side-events (at CoP13 (2010) and SC66
(2016)), the making of interventions in plenary sessions,
and participation in the CITES inter-sessional working
group on pangolins. It has also entailed the submission of
information documents to such meetings on the status of,
and illegal trade in the species. Similarly, nine members
of the Specialist Group attended the First Pangolin Range
States meeting, hosted and organized by the Vietnamese
and US governments in June 2015, and several members
delivered technical presentations and took part in
working groups. At the request of range States at this
meeting, and coinciding with priorities in the Pangolin
Specialist Group Conservation Action Plan (see below),
the group is undertaking work to assist range States
further in their decision-making and management—
namely by producing a series of mapping tools
illustrating species’ distributions, the protection status
of native and non-native pangolin species, and legal and
illegal trade dynamics. Similarly, the group is working to
assist range States in monitoring pangolin populations,
through a body of work to develop standardized survey
and monitoring methodologies.
Second, members of the Specialist Group continue
to contribute to the evidence and knowledge base on
pangolins through publications on the species and the
threats they face. This includes scientic papers on trade
(including its extent and dynamics), the nature of demand
for pangolin products, habitat preferences, diet and
ecology, ethno-medicinal use and offtake levels, ecto-
parasite loads of wild pangolins and genetic research.
The IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group, through
the collaborative efforts of its members, has also played
a signicant role in setting the conservation agenda for
pangolins over the next decade. In 2013, it organized the
First Pangolin Specialist Group Conservation Conference,
which was held at Wildlife Reserves Singapore and brought
together more than 45 members and non-members from
over 15 countries in order to exchange information, share
research and insights and complete revised assessments
for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, which were
subsequently published in 2014 (e.g., Waterman et al.,
2014). These assessments concluded that all pangolins
are now threatened with extinction: the Chinese and
Sunda pangolins are classied as Critically Endangered,
the Indian and Philippine species as Endangered, and
the four African species as Vulnerable. Beyond this, the
group launched the rst-ever global conservation action
plan for pangolins in 2014, titled “Scaling Up Pangolin
Conservation”, which outlines the range of multifaceted
and critical actions that need to be implemented to secure
the conservation of pangolins.
The Specialist Group is also dedicated to helping lead
conservation efforts in the eld. For example, members
of the group are world leaders in the rescue, rehabilitation
and release of pangolins back into the wild in Africa and
Asia, for example in Zimbabwe, Viet Nam and Cambodia.
Other members are undertaking vital research into
pangolin ecology, distribution and threats in Africa (Benin,
Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria and South Africa) and Asia
(Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, mainland
China, Hainan Island, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India, and
Indonesia). Specialist Group members are also mentoring
and training young African and Asian conservation
practitioners to promote pangolin conservation in Central
Africa; implementing community-based conservation
projects in Nepal; supporting anti-poaching patrols at key
sites in Thailand and Cameroon; working with informant
networks to gain a deeper understanding of illegal trade in
pangolins; and working to reduce demand for pangolins
in Viet Nam and China.
The group has also made substantial efforts to raise the
prole of pangolins globally, through the print, broadcast
and social media, and at special events. In 2014, members
of the Pangolin Specialist Group, with the very generous
support of PPNAT (Photographers for the Preservation of
Nature) highlighted the plight of pangolin species at the
International Festival of Nature and Wildlife Photography
at Montier-en-Der, France. The emphasis of the festival
was on threatened species, in particular on pangolins.
Attended by more than 42 000 people, the festival is the
largest of its kind in Europe.
conclusIons
Pangolins are in crisis but a global movement to address
this has begun. The membership of the IUCN SSC
Pangolin Specialist Group has played an integral role in
setting the global conservation agenda for pangolins over
the next decade, which recognizes the need for multi-
N E W S
TRAFFIC Bulletin Vol. 28 No. 1 (2016) 21
faceted interventions that reect the complex reality of
the threats facing pangolins. In bringing together the
expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm of its individual
members, the Specialist Group is able to contribute
more effectively to the conservation of pangolins at a
global level. Other stakeholders in range States as well
as national and international NGOs are also playing
critically important roles in these efforts. This increased
attention and investment in pangolin conservation is
a start but, crucially, it must be sustained if there is to
be any notable reduction in the illegal trade and the
conservation of the world’s pangolins is to be secured.
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Daniel W.S. Challender (corresponding author),
IUCN Global Species Programme, Cambridge, UK; Co-Chair,
IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group; Durrell Institute of
Conservation and Ecology (DICE), University of Kent, UK
E-mail: dan.challender@iucn.org/dan_pangolin@hotmail.co.uk
Jonathan E.M. Baillie, Conservation Programmes Director,
Zoological Society of London; Co-Chair, IUCN SSC Pangolin
Specialist Group
Carly Waterman, Pangolin Technical Specialist,
Zoological Society of London; Programme Ofcer and
Red List Co-ordinator, IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group
Darren Pietersen, Africa Vice-Chair, IUCN SSC Pangolin
Specialist Group; Co-Chairman, African Pangolin Working Group
Helen Nash, National University of Singapore;
Genetics Vice-Chair, IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group;
Leanne Wicker, Veterinary Health Vice-Chair,
IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group
Keri Parker, Communications Vice-Chair,
IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group
Paul Thomson, Communications Vice-Chair,
IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group
Thai Van Nguyen, Executive Director, Save Vietnam’s Wildlife;
Captive Ecology Vice-Chair, IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group
Lisa Hywood, Tikki Hywood Trust;
Wildlife Crime Vice-Chair, IUCN SSC Pangolin SpecialistGroup;
Board Member, African Pangolin Working Group
Chris R. Shepherd, Regional Director—Southeast Asia, TRAFFIC;
Asia Vice-Chair, IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group
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... Yet, pangolins are one of the most widely trafficked mammals globally (Challender et al., 2014;Challender et al., 2020). Studies estimate that more than a million pangolins originating from Asia and Africa, have been trafficked globally between 2000 and 2013 (Challender et al., 2014). Pangolins are widely hunted and traded across Asia for their meat, skin and scales (Challender et al., 2015;Nijman et al., 2016). ...
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Global climate change caused by fossil energy consumption is strongly threatening the species diversity of mammals. In particular, changes in temperature and precipitation have affected the habitat of pangolins. Thus, we employed the MaxEnt modeling approach to simulate the potential habitat distribution of pangolins under the current climate and future climate change scenarios during 2081–2100. The habitats of the two Phataginus pangolins were mainly affected by temperature and precipitation. Conversely, geomorphological factors mainly affected the habitat of pangolins in the genus Smutsia. Under the SSP5–8.5 scenario, the habitat of Smutsia gigantea increased by 460.8 Mha, while that of Smutsia temminckii decreased by 89.4 Mha. Temperature and altitude affected the habitat of Manis crassicaudata, while vegetation coverage affected the habitat of Manis javanica. Moreover, human activities threatened the habitat of pangolins in Africa and India. However, labor transfer in southern China weakened the negative effects of human activities on the survival of pangolins in rural regions. Due to the lack of uniform intergovernmental schemes regarding global pangolin protection, the illegal pangolin trade threatens pangolin species worldwide, especially in Africa. From current to future scenarios, climate change increased the habitats of Manis crassicaudata, Manis javanica, Smutsia gigantea and Phataginus tetradactyla, while the habitats of Manis pentadactyla and Smutsia temminckii were threatened. Moreover, the total habitat area of the pantropical distribution zone in the Southern Hemisphere (26°S–33°S) decreased, mainly due to the extensive reduction in Smutsia temminckii habitat. The habitat of the pantropical zone in the Northern Hemisphere (19°N–28°N) basically remained unchanged. Increases in the habitat of the tropical distribution zone (11°S–17°N) were dominated by habitat gains for Smutsia gigantea. These findings provide scientific evidence to support global pangolin protection.
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Pangolins are among the most valuable and widely traded taxa in the Southeast Asian illegal wildlife trade, yet little is known of their ecology and they are rarely reported in biodiversity surveys. Firstly, this study collated field and museum reports to produce the first distribution maps for the pangolins Manis pentadactyla and M. javanica in Vietnam. We also demonstrated that current biodiversity monitoring methods are rarely successful in recording pangolin presence and that most of the information about their distribution derives from the knowledge of local hunters. Secondly, semi-structured interviews with hunters revealed that the methods used to catch pangolins differed depending on species and site and suggest that the more terrestrial populations of M . pentadactyla are at greater risk from hunting than the more arboreal M. javanica. We highlight the value of applying local hunters’ knowledge to developing ecological study methods and conservation programmes for pangolin species in Southeast Asia.
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Pangolins are among the most valuable and widely traded taxa in the Southeast Asian illegal wildlife trade, yet little is known of their ecology and they are rarely reported in biodiversity surveys. Firstly, this study collated field and museum reports to produce the first distribution maps for the pangolins Manis pentadactyla and M. javanica in Vietnam. We also demonstrated that current biodiversity monitoring methods are rarely successful in recording pangolin presence and that most of the information about their distribution derives from the knowledge of local hunters. Secondly, semi-structured interviews with hunters revealed that the methods used to catch pangolins differed depending on species and site and suggest that the more terrestrial populations of M . pentadactyla are at greater risk from hunting than the more arboreal M. javanica. We highlight the value of applying local hunters’ knowledge to developing ecological study methods and conservation programmes for pangolin species in Southeast Asia.
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Massive and ruthless killing of Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) was recorded in Potohar region of Pakistan. From January 2011 to May 2012; 118 individuals were killed brutally including from districts ___________________________ * Corresponding author: tariqjanjua75@uaar.edu.pk. Chakwal (n=60), Attock (n=25), Jhelum (n=19) and Rawalpindi (n=14). Nomads and local hunters have been found directly involved in the illegal trade of the animal with a selling price of Rs.10,000-15,000/-per animal (US$ 108 to 163) depending upon its size. The captured live pangolin is boiled in water tank to remove its scales, the rest of the scale-less dead body being thrown away. It is suspected that its scales have a high demand in the illegal local as well international markets; to be used in manufacturing bullet-proof jackets and in traditional Chinese medicines.
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