It is estimated that since 2000, more than 1 million pangolins have been traded illegally at the international level, which makes them the most trafficked wild mammal in the world.
All 8 species of pangolins are threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The four Asian species are listed as Critically Endangered or Endangered.
Recently, pangolins gained the highest levels of protection under CITES with the decision to uplist all 8 species to Appendix I. Now, all 8 species of pangolins are prohibited from all international commercial trade.
These protections will not stop the pangolin poaching crisis alone. Much more work needs to be done to stop the killing, trafficking, and demand for pangolins.
Pangolins are the most illegally traded mammal in the world. What needs to be done?
Pangolins are difficult to maintain without expert care and thus rarely survive in captivity. It is crucial that conservation efforts focus on the areas where pangolins are being hunted to stop their removal from the wild.
Improving the Biological Knowledge Base
Pangolins are secretive, solitary, and nocturnal, and many mysteries remain about their natural history and behavior. Conservationists and scientists are working to map the current distribution and range pangolins left in the wild. We are also researching their behavior and ecology so that we can identify ways to ensure their survival.
Training Rangers and Wildlife Authorities
Enforcement efforts must be ramped up to deliver a real deterrent to the illegal pangolin trade. This means increasing the skills and knowledge of rangers and wildlife authorities in the areas where pangolins are being hunted by providing them with tools and resources to crack down on the trade.
The major obstacles to combating the underground pangolin trade include a lack of awareness of the problem, lack of resources and capacity to implement conservation programs, and low prioritization by governments and local communities to take action. Communities and local officials need to be fully aware of the benefits of pangolin conservation so that they can become involved in conservation action.
Rescue and Rehabilitation Centers
Pangolins are extremely difficult to maintain in captivity, and most die within a short period after capture. Most pangolin range states lack the capacity and infrastructure to care for injured pangolins that are seized from the illegal wildlife trade.
Conservation efforts must emphasize stopping the removal of pangolins from the wild. Nevertheless, wildlife authorities are constantly seizing live pangolins from illegal traders, so it’s key to develop ways pangolins can be treated and rehabilitated in captivity so that they can be returned to their native habitats. Some rescue centers are pioneering rehabilitation and release efforts.
Save Pangolins raises global awareness of pangolins and the people fighting to save them from extinction. We provide coordination between stakeholders and support to range state conservation programs.
We encourage you to modify our education and outreach materials for pangolin conservation efforts wherever you are. Contact us for more information.
Are you involved with a conservation program that should be listed? Let us know by contacting us.