Category: Pangolins

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15 Feb 2018

USAID Unveils Field Guide to Combat Pangolin Trafficking  0

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Developed by the USAID Wildlife Asia project, the Pangolin Species Identification Guide: A Rapid Assessment Tool for Field and Desk will make it easier for law enforcement officers to identify pangolins and pangolin parts — such as scales and skins — they may encounter in the field.

BANGKOK, February 16, 2018 – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is marking World Pangolin Day on February 17 by unveiling a new guide to help law enforcement officers identify species and origins of pangolins, the world’s most trafficked mammals, in a bid to curb the illegal trade in wildlife.

Developed by the USAID Wildlife Asia project, the Pangolin Species Identification Guide: A Rapid Assessment Tool for Field and Desk will make it easier for law enforcement officers to identify pangolins and pangolin parts — such as scales and skins — they may encounter in the field. The guide provides species identification characteristics and range maps, allowing officers to identify pangolins and their likely country of origin.

“This guide will be a great benefit for frontline law enforcement officers who work at entry ports, such as international airports, seaports and land border crossings, to effectively enforce any laws relating to pangolins,” said Pinsak Suraswadi, Deputy Director General of Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP).

In 2017, authorities seized 32 tons of pangolin scales and 563 live pangolins in Southeast Asia and China. According to recent research published in Conservation Letters, up to 2.7 million pangolins are being killed every year in Central Africa alone. In many cases seized pangolins are not identified properly, making it difficult to know the original source of the trafficked individuals.

“We have to act now to protect pangolins, as they are at high risk of extinction,” said acting USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia Director Richard Goughnour. “This guide is one important contribution to better equip law enforcement officers to succeed in fighting this crime.”

USAID Wildlife Asia gave a preview of the guide at the November 2017 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Standing Committee meeting in Geneva. “The CITES Secretariat has already made the guide available on the CITES Virtual College, the World Customs Organization Environet platform, and more widely distributed it among the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime partner organizations, to make it available as widely as possible to officers responsible for wildlife law enforcement in the front lines,” said CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon.

USAID Wildlife Asia will further support pangolin identification with plans to roll out in late 2018 an interactive smartphone application to aid law enforcement and customs officials in the identification of pangolins and pangolin products.

USAID Wildlife Asia and the DNP will use the new guide at Thailand’s first-ever pangolin husbandry workshop to train customs and relevant law enforcement authorities to improve survival and release rates of live pangolins confiscated in the illegal wildlife trade.

All eight species of pangolin, four in Asia and four in Africa, are illegal to trade and are listed in CITES Appendix I, the highest level of international protection. Thailand is home to two pangolin species, the Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) and the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla). The primary destinations for pangolin scales and meat are China and to a lesser extent, Vietnam. Criminals frequently use Thailand as a transit point in the illegal pangolin trade.

The Pangolin Species Identification Guide is available on www.usaidwildlifeasia.org in English and Thai and will also be translated in Indonesian, Malaysian, Mandarin and Vietnamese. Mobile application is available at Play Store (https://goo.gl/NGpkzJ) and App Store (https://goo.gl/T9UVMQ)

About USAID Wildlife Asia

The USAID Wildlife Asia Activity works to address wildlife trafficking as a transnational crime. The project aims to reduce consumer demand for wildlife parts and products, strengthen law enforcement, enhance legal and political commitment, and support regional collaboration to reduce wildlife crime in Southeast Asia, particularly: Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and China. Species focus of USAID Wildlife Asia include elephant, rhinoceros, tiger and pangolin. For more information, please visit www.usaidwildlifeasia.org


12 Feb 2018

Seventh Annual World Pangolin Day Celebrated on 17 February 2018  0

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World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in February, and this year, the special day falls on February 17, 2018!

World Pangolin Day day is an opportunity for pangolin enthusiasts to join together in raising awareness about these unique mammals — and their plight. Pangolins are unfortunately one of the most heavily trafficked mammals in the illegal wildlife trade.

Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate in World Pangolin Day! The aim of World Pangolin Day is to draw as much attention to pangolins as possible, since they are still relatively unknown outside of Africa and Asia.

12 things you can do to help pangolins on World Pangolin Day (and beyond!):

  1. TWEET using the hashtag #WorldPangolinDay.
  2. LIKE the World Pangolin Day Facebook page.
  3. BLOG about pangolins on World Pangolin Day.
  4. SHARE pangolin information on your social media networks.
  5. CREATE pangolin art — paint, draw, sculpt.
  6. EDUCATE by giving a presentation about pangolins at school.
  7. SUPPORT organizations which are working to protect pangolins.
  8. HOST a World Pangolin Day party or event (post your photos on the World Pangolin Day Facebook page!).
  9. BAKE cookies or a cake in the shape of a pangolin (post your photos on the World Pangolin Day page!).
  10. REQUEST full enforcement of laws and penalties for smuggling pangolins (and other wildlife).
  11. INFORM traditional medicine prescribers that the use of pangolin scales is illegal (and there are no proven health benefits to consuming scales — they are made of keratin, just like fingernails and hair!).
  12. NOTIFY the authorities if you see pangolins for sale at markets or on restaurant menus, or if you know of anyone capturing or possessing pangolins.

About pangolins:

Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are unique creatures that are covered in hard, plate-like scales. They are insectivorous (feeding nearly exclusively on ants and termites) and are mainly nocturnal. Their name, “pangolin”, is derived from the Malay word “pengguling”, which loosely translates to “something that rolls up”. Together, the eight species comprise their very own Order: Pholidota.

There are a total of eight species of pangolin on our Planet, and all pangolin populations are declining, due to the illegal trade for meat (it’s considered a delicacy in China and Vietnam) and scales (used in traditional Chinese medicine, despite no evidence of medicinal properties).

Four pangolin species live in Asia:

  • Indian Pangolin (also called Thick-tailed Pangolin), Manis crassicaudata
  • Phillipine Pangolin, Manis culionensis
  • Sunda Pangolin (also called Malayan Pangolin), Manis javanica
  • Chinese Pangolin, Manis pentadactyla

Four pangolin species live in Africa:

  • White Bellied Tree Pangolin (also called AThree-Cusped Pangolin, African White-Bellied Pangolin and Tree Pangolin), Phataginus tricuspis
  • Giant Ground Pangolin, Smutsia gigantea
  • Ground Pangolin (also called Cape Pangolin and Temminck’s Pangolin), Smutsia temminckii
  • Black Bellied Tree Pangolin (also called Long-Tailed Pangolin and Black-Bellied Pangolin), Phataginus tetradactyla
  • For more information or media inquiries, please contact me: rhishja (at) annamiticus (dot) com

    14 Feb 2017

    Sixth Annual World Pangolin Day is 18 February 2017  0

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    World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in February, and this year, the special day falls on February 18, 2017.

    World Pangolin Day day is an opportunity for pangolin enthusiasts to join together in raising awareness about these unique mammals — and their plight. Pangolins are unfortunately one of the most heavily trafficked mammals in the illegal wildlife trade.

    Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate in World Pangolin Day! The aim of World Pangolin Day is to draw as much attention to pangolins as possible, since they are still relatively unknown outside of Africa and Asia.

    12 things you can do to help pangolins on World Pangolin Day (and beyond!):

    1. TWEET using the hashtag #WorldPangolinDay.
    2. LIKE the World Pangolin Day Facebook page.
    3. BLOG about pangolins on World Pangolin Day.
    4. SHARE pangolin information on your social media networks.
    5. CREATE pangolin art — paint, draw, sculpt.
    6. EDUCATE by giving a presentation about pangolins at school.
    7. SUPPORT organizations which are working to protect pangolins.
    8. HOST a World Pangolin Day party or event (post your photos on the World Pangolin Day Facebook page!).
    9. BAKE cookies or a cake in the shape of a pangolin (post your photos on the World Pangolin Day page!).
    10. REQUEST full enforcement of laws and penalties for smuggling pangolins (and other wildlife).
    11. INFORM traditional medicine prescribers that the use of pangolin scales is illegal (and there are no proven health benefits to consuming scales — they are made of keratin, just like fingernails and hair!).
    12. NOTIFY the authorities if you see pangolins for sale at markets or on restaurant menus, or if you know of anyone capturing or possessing pangolins.

    About pangolins:

    Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are unique creatures that are covered in hard, plate-like scales. They are insectivorous (feeding nearly exclusively on ants and termites) and are mainly nocturnal. Their name, “pangolin”, is derived from the Malay word “pengguling”, which loosely translates to “something that rolls up”. Together, the eight species comprise their very own Order: Pholidota.

    There are a total of eight species of pangolin on our Planet, and all pangolin populations are declining, due to the illegal trade for meat (it’s considered a delicacy in China and Vietnam) and scales (used in traditional Chinese medicine, despite no evidence of medicinal properties).

    Four pangolin species live in Asia:

    • Indian Pangolin (also called Thick-tailed Pangolin), Manis crassicaudata
    • Phillipine Pangolin, Manis culionensis
    • Sunda Pangolin (also called Malayan Pangolin), Manis javanica
    • Chinese Pangolin, Manis pentadactyla

    Four pangolin species live in Africa:

  • Three-Cusped Pangolin (also called African White-Bellied Pangolin and Tree Pangolin), Manis tricuspis
  • Giant Ground Pangolin, Manis gigantea
  • Cape Pangolin (also called Temminck’s Pangolin), Manis temminckii
  • Long-Tailed Pangolin (also called Black-Bellied Pangolin), Manis tetradactyla
  • For more information or media inquiries, please contact me: rhishja (at) annamiticus (dot) com

    15 Aug 2014

    All 8 Pangolin Species Threatened with Extinction; 2 Species Now ‘Critically Endangered’  0

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    All four African pangolin species -- the ground pangolin (Manis temminckii), giant ground pangolin (Manis gigantea), white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspid), black-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla) -- have been moved from Least Concern to Vulnerable. PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust
    All four African pangolin species — the ground pangolin (Manis temminckii), giant ground pangolin (Manis gigantea), white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspid), black-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla) — have been moved from Least Concern to Vulnerable. PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust

    All eight pangolin species are now considered threatened with extinction, according to the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species ™.

    Two of the four Asian species, the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) and Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica), are now listed as Critically Endangered. The Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis) and Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) have been moved from Near Threatened to Endangered.

    All four African pangolin species — the ground pangolin (Manis temminckii), giant ground pangolin (Manis gigantea), white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspid), black-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla) — have been moved from Least Concern to Vulnerable.

    All pangolin populations are decreasing.

    Pangolins bear the unfortunate distinction of “most illegally traded mammal in the world”, due to the massive demand from China, as well as Vietnam. Pangolin meat (including fetuses) is eaten as a delicacy. Pangolin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine. However, the scales are simply comprised of keratin — the same as our fingernails — and there are no proven health benefits of consuming pangolin scales.

    The plundering of this species is inexcusable, says Professor Jonathan Baillie, Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group and Conservation Programmes Director at ZSL.

    “In the 21st Century we really should not be eating species to extinction — there is simply no excuse for allowing this illegal trade to continue.”

    This recognition from the IUCN is the latest positive development for pangolins in 2014.

    • Pangolins received unprecedented media coverage this year, thanks to CNN’s John Sutter taking up the plight of this endearing mammal in “The most trafficked mammal you’ve never heard of“, part of CNN’s Change the List project.
    • In June 2014, the Species Survival Network, an international coalition of over 100 NGOs, launched a Pangolin Working Group to address legal and illegal trade in pangolins, and to ensure that wild populations are protected and that CITES trade restrictions are adequately implemented and enforced. The Group is working towards the uplisting of all eight pangolin species to CITES Appendix I, which prohibits international commercial trade.
    • At the 65th Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee held in July 2014, an intercessional working group on pangolins was established following interventions by countries and NGOs. The Working Group is Chaired by the European Union and comprised of source, transit and destination countries — and NGOs. It met for the first time on July 10, and adopted a mandate calling for robust reporting requirements on pangolin trade and conservation.

    (This post was originally published on Annamiticus.)


    17 Jul 2014

    Progress for Pangolins at CITES Meeting in Geneva  0

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    Pangolins received much-needed attention at the 65th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, held July 7-11 in Geneva. PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust
    Pangolins received much-needed attention at the 65th meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, held July 7-11 in Geneva. PHJOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust

    The 65th Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee held in Geneva yielded positive results for pangolins with the establishment of an intercessional working group on pangolins, which adopted a mandate calling for robust reporting requirements on pangolin trade and conservation.

    On Wednesday, July 9, multiple interventions were made on behalf on pangolins regarding SC65 Doc. 27.1 Enforcement Matters.

    Several pangolin range states, including India, Indonesia, mainland China and Hong Kong, expressed their concerns regarding the trafficking menace facing this species … full article at ANNAMITICUS.


    02 Jul 2014

    Species Survival Network Launches Pangolin Working Group  0

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    The Pangolin Working Group will address legal and illegal trade in pangolins to ensure that wild populations are protected, and that CITES trade restrictions are adequately implemented and enforced. PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust
    The Pangolin Working Group will address legal and illegal trade in pangolins to ensure that wild populations are protected, and that CITES trade restrictions are adequately implemented and enforced.
    PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust

    WASHINGTON, DC – The Species Survival Network (SSN), an international coalition of over 100 NGOs, has established a Pangolin Working Group to address legal and illegal trade in pangolins to ensure that wild populations are protected, and that CITES trade restrictions are adequately implemented and enforced.

    The Working Group has committed itself to ensuring that these enigmatic species are not traded into extinction and will press for the promotion, enhancement and strict enforcement of applicable national and international regulations protecting pangolins, including the commitments made by 180 of the world’s governments under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The Group will also work towards the uplisting of all eight pangolin species to CITES Appendix I, which prohibits international commercial trade … full article at ANNAMITICUS.


    22 Jun 2014

    6 Months of Pangolin Trafficking in Asia: 17 Seizures in 6 Countries  0

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    More than three tons of pangolin scales from Africa were seized in Asia during the first six months of 2014. PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust
    More than three tons of pangolin scales from Africa were seized in Asia during the first six months of 2014. PHOTO: Tikki Hywood Trust

    During the first six months of 2014, at least 17 pangolin trafficking incidents were reported across six Asian countries: China (including Hong Kong), India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Thailand.

    As of June 18, the volume of pangolin scales seized per incident ranged from two (2) to 2,340 kilograms (2.6 tons). A total of 23 suspects were arrested, including two women. Cars, pickup trucks, motorbikes, mail, and maritime freight containers were used to transport the bodies and scales of thousands of pangolins. A particularly worrying indicator is that two seizures of scales in Hong Kong — totaling just over three tons — apparently came from African pangolins … (full article at ANNAMITICUS)


    03 Apr 2014

    Recent Seizure Highlights Pangolin Trafficking from Pakistan to China  0

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    Recent Seizure Highlights Pangolin Trafficking from Pakistan to China (via Annamiticus)

    Pakistan customs officials have seized 145kg of pangolin scales at Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad, from two Chinese nationals. The pair was identified as Lou Ruiyuan (passport E112653H) and Ying Fulan (passport E04400002), according…

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    13 Feb 2014

    Third Annual World Pangolin Day is February 15  0

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    Third Annual World Pangolin Day is February 15 (via Annamiticus)

    World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in February, and this year, the special day falls on February 15, 2014. World Pangolin Day day is an opportunity for pangolin enthusiasts to join together in raising awareness about these unique…

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    03 Jan 2014

    Pangolin Trafficking: Over 8,000 Pangolins Seized in 2013  0

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    Pangolin Trafficking: Over 8,000 Pangolins Seized in 2013 (via Annamiticus)

    2013 was another deadly year for pangolins, with an estimated 8,125 of these shy creatures confiscated in 49 instances of illegal trade across 13 countries. Because seizures represent just 10 to 20 percent of the actual illegal trade volume, this strongly…

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