World Pangolin Day 15 February 2020

World Pangolin Day 15 February 2020

Stop Wildlife Trafficking!

The Pangolin Project.

Pangolins are not well known to many people, including countries where they occur naturally.  Well, TRAFFIC® (the wildlife trade monitoring network) estimates that 1 million pangolins have been poached in the last ten years!!!

Only one of the eight pangolin species occur in South Africa:

Figure 1 ©2630ben/Shutterstock.com

  • The Temminck’s Ground Pangolin- Smutsia temminckii occurs in South Africa naturally.

Description

The pangolin is also known as a scaly anteater as its whole body, including a large flattened tail, is covered in very hard scales.  The scales protect the pangolin from predators.

International Protection

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international agreement that aims to ensure that international trade does not threaten a specie’s survival, lists the pangolins in Appendix I, the highest degree of protection in terms of the Convention (the commercial international trade of wild caught specimens is prohibited).  South Africa is a signatory and has written CITES into our law.  The current listing still uses Manis as the genus of the Temminck’s Pangolin, but it has changed to Smutsii.

https://www.cites.org/eng/app/appendices.php

National Protection

In terms of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act 10 of 2004, the Pangolin is listed as Threatened.

Conservation Status

According to the 2018 International Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species™ that lists assessed species of plants and animals into categories according to their risk of extinction:

https://newredlist.iucnredlist.org/species/12765/45222717 where the Temminck’s Pangolin is listed as Vulnerable.

Behaviour

Did you know that the pangolin rolls up into a ball to defend itself against danger or predators?  Unfortunately, this behaviour may lead to death as it may roll onto an electric game fence and get entangled.

Apps, P. 2000. Wild Ways. Field Guide to the Behaviour of Southern African Mammals. Cape Town. Struik.

Specimens

Pangolins are used for traditional medicine; their meat is consumed, and their skins are turned into leather products.

https://www.traffic.org/site/assets/files/1606/global-pangolin-assessment.pdf

Some trafficked items derived from pangolins are listed below:

Scales

Figure 2 © GreenLaw Foundation

Scales are used in traditional medicine

Figure 3 © Hong Kong Government/US Government Office https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=65271776

Pangolin parts used in traditional medicine.

Scales used for decoration

Figure 4 © Ann Porteus/creativecommons.org

A pangolin skin hat from the DRC

Bushmeat

Figure 5 © US Fish and Wildlife Service

https://www.traffic.org/site/assets/files/1606/global-pangolin-assessment.pdf