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Why The Need for Global Conservation of Pangolins?

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Illegal trade of wildlife at the global scale is evaluated at a value of billions of dollars involving hundreds of millions of specimens annually(Shepherd et al., 2017). Ingram et al., (2018) highlighted that the major dilemma causing species’ decline and local extinction is overexploitation. Also, several research have kept track of wildlife hunting and markets at local scales. According to Nijman et al., (2016) , myriad reports have discussed legal and illegal trade of wildlife especially Pangolins.

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Pangolins are remarkable species. They are classified as the genuinely scaly mammals globally. Evolutionally, they are different. This is as a result of their distinct morphological and ecological adaptation over millions of years(Pietersen & Challender, 2019). Choo et al., (2020) have also stated that Pangolins are not only classified under endangered species but a candidate of most trafficked mammals on the global scale.

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According to Hua et al., (2015), Pangolins are seen to have extremely economic values; medicine and source of food. Due to their economic importance, massive poaching has drastically decline wild population of Pangolins (Hua et al., 2015). It is in this regard that the IUCN declared pangolins as endangered species(Nash et al., 2016).

Conservation delineate management of human use of natural resources (biodiversity) to provide maximum benefit for current generation without compromising the potential benefits for posterity(Heinrich et al., 2016). 

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This and many have raised the concerns by many groups, countries and International organizations to conserve the most threatened only scaly wildlife species.

This paper recognizes various countries conserving Pangolins, “the most heavily trafficked wild mammal in the world” (Challender et al., 2014). 

Some Examples of Countries Conserving Pangolins

Crimes related to illegal trade of Pangolins in Zimbabwe has proliferated yet meticulous monitoring of the trade and strict regulations have resulted a positive conservation results. During the 12 years interval between years 2000 and 2012, Zimbabwe recorded low cases in Pangolin-related crimes(Shepherd et al., 2017).

Newton et al., (2008) featured certain recommendations especially the use of local hunters’ knowledge to help conserve elusive species including Pangolin in Vietnam.

In South Asia, there are efforts to conserve native Pangolins. Singapore have cooperated with the public to return any future poached Pangolins back to reserves to help in the management of Pangolins population in Singapore. This was instituted using National Parks and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (Pantel & Chin, 2009).

For decades, Pangolins have suffered murder as a result of black-market trade in China. Congratulations to millions of dedicated environmental groups such as Nature Conservancy which highlighted in its vision to conserve nature to benefits this present generations and maintaining its ability to provide for posterity.

“Pangolins are known as the guardians of the forest because they protect forests from termite destruction, maintaining a balanced ecosystem. Public efforts to prevent poaching of pangolins in China are gaining traction, such as this PSA featuring Jackie Chan, produced through a partnership between Wild Aid and The Nature Conservancy” (www.nature.org). Accessed on 19/02/2021.

Nandankanan Zoological Park (NKZP) is one of the premier large zoos in India and contribute to conservation of Indian Pangolin through an augmented understanding of its behavior, nutrition, reproduction and health care(Mohapatra & Panda, 2014).

Conclusion

All eight species of Pangolins are threatened with extinction according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) SSC pangolin specialist group. African Pangolin species are classified as vulnerable(Heinrich et al., 2016). Enforcements efforts have been outlined by nations, international organizations and other conservation groups to help deliver a relevant deterrent to illegal Pangolin trade, thus, ensuring the conservation of Pangolin globally.

Credit : Emmanuel Bonney
Mphil Environmental science
arvinbonney@gmail.com

References

Choo, S. W., Zhou, J., Tian, X., Zhang, S., Qiang, S., O’Brien, S. J., Tan, K. Y., Platto, S., Koepfli, K. P., Antunes, A., & Sitam, F. T. (2020). Are pangolins scapegoats of the COVID-19 outbreak-CoV transmission and pathology evidence? Conservation Letters, 13(6), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12754

Challender, D. W. S., Waterman, C., & Baillie, J. E. M. (2014). Scaling up pangolin conservation. IUCN SSC pangolin specialist group conservation action plan. In Zoological Society of London.

Heinrich, S., Wittmann, T. A., Prowse, T. A. A., Ross, J. V., Delean, S., Shepherd, C. R., & Cassey, P. (2016). Where did all the pangolins go? International CITES trade in pangolin species. Global Ecology and Conservation, 8, 241–253. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2016.09.007

Hua, L., Gong, S., Wang, F., Li, W., Ge, Y., Li, X., & Hou, F. (2015). Captive breeding of pangolins: Current status, problems and future prospects. ZooKeys, 2015(507), 99–114. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.507.6970

Ingram, D. J., Coad, L., Abernethy, K. A., Maisels, F., Stokes, E. J., Bobo, K. S., Breuer, T., Gandiwa, E., Ghiurghi, A., Greengrass, E., Holmern, T., Kamgaing, T. O. W., Ndong Obiang, A. M., Poulsen, J. R., Schleicher, J., Nielsen, M. R., Solly, H., Vath, C. L., Waltert, M., … Scharlemann, J. P. W. (2018). Assessing Africa-Wide Pangolin Exploitation by Scaling Local Data. Conservation Letters, 11(2), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1111/conl.12389

Mohapatra, R. K., & Panda, S. (2014). Mohapatra_Panda_2014_Husbandry, Behaviour and Conservation Breeding of Indian pangolin. 63(2), 73–80.

Nash, H. C., Wong, M. H. G., & Turvey, S. T. (2016). Using local ecological knowledge to determine status and threats of the Critically Endangered Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) in Hainan, China. Biological Conservation, 196, 189–195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2016.02.025

Newton, P., Van Thai, N., Roberton, S., & Bell, D. (2008). Pangolins in peril: Using local hunters’ knowledge to conserve elusive species in Vietnam. Endangered Species Research, 6(1), 41–53. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr00127

Nijman, V., Zhang, M. X., & Shepherd, C. R. (2016). Pangolin trade in the Mong La wildlife market and the role of Myanmar in the smuggling of pangolins into China. Global Ecology and Conservation, 5, 118–126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2015.12.003

Pantel, S., & Chin, S. Y. (2009). Proceedings of the workshop on trade and conservation of pangolins native to South and Southeast Asia. In Proceedings ofthe Workshop on Trade and Conservation of Pangolins Native to South and Southeast Asia, 30 June-2 July 2008, Singapore Zoo, Singapore. TRAFFIC Southeast Asia, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia (Vol. 30, Issue July).

Pietersen, D. W., & Challender, D. W. S. (2019). Research needs for pangolins. In Pangolins: Science, Society and Conservation (Issue 2). INC. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-815507-3.00034-4

Shepherd, C. R., Connelly, E., Hywood, L., & Cassey, P. (2017). Taking a stand against illegal wildlife trade: The Zimbabwean approach to pangolin conservation. Oryx, 51(2), 280–285. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605316000119

www.nature.org. Accessed on 19/02/2021.

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