This week, as the world’s first ever Pangolin Range States workshop takes place in Da Nang Province, Vietnam, SOS and Fondation Segré are delighted to announce a two-year international Pangolin Conservation Initiative taking place in Cameroon, Thailand and China.
This project will work to protect four species of Pangolin. This includes the Giant Pangolin (Smutsia gigantea), the White-bellied Pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis), the Black-bellied Pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla) - all of which are categorised as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. The fourth is the Critically Endangered Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica). Project activities will focus on tackling direct threats to pangolins at priority sites in Africa and Asia, and by initiating research into reducing demand for pangolin products in China, the primary market for the species and their derivatives.
To date there have been very few targeted conservation initiatives in place for pangolins according to Dan Challender, Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group (Pangolin SG) and a participant in the Da Nang meeting and technical advisor to the SOS project. “Reducing demand for pangolins in East Asian markets is imperative to securing their future,” he adds.
All eight species of pangolin have been included in Appendix II of CITES since 1975 restricting trade. But populations are increasingly under pressure from illegal hunting and poaching for illicit international trade. Demand for their meat, which is considered a delicacy in East Asia, and their scales which are used in traditional Asian medicines is beyond unsustainable.
The Pangolin SG estimated that one million pangolins have been traded illegally in the last 10 years, contributing to population declines of up to 80% in the Asian species and a subsequent increase in inter-continental trade in pangolin parts from African countries to Asian markets.
This project, implemented by IUCN Member Zoological Society of London (ZSL) will effect key conservation recommendations articulated in the recently published action plan ‘Scaling up pangolin conservation’.
This first ever document of its kind sets out the priorities for the next 10 years. It is a key tool being used at the Da Nang meeting this week to help generate effective recommendations for coordinated pangolin conservation efforts.
Together with the participating experts from CITES, representatives from all African and Asian range states, various NGOs as well as the IUCN Pangolin Specialist Group, this meeting which is co-hosted by the Government of Viet Nam and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, represents a significant development for international pangolin conservation.
Because it is directly aligned to this ten year plan, the SOS Pangolin Conservation Initiative in collaboration with Fondation Segré represents an exciting development joining up the dots across international borders to help build a coordinated frontline effort against pangolin extinction.
As such, SOS and Fondation Segré look forward to publishing more information detailing this project’s activities in Cameroon, Thailand and China soon via a dedicated Project Profile page on the SOS website.