The project will help to protect four species of pangolin through supporting anti-poaching patrols and law enforcement at key sites in Cameroon and Thailand, and by initiating work to reduce demand for pangolin products in China.
Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, are the most heavily trafficked wild mammals on the planet. All eight species (four in Asia and four in Africa) are threatened by poaching for illicit international trade, in particular for their meat, which is considered a delicacy, and their scales which are used in traditional medicines.
Demand for pangolins in East Asia has increased dramatically in recent years; one million pangolins are estimated to have been traded illegally in the last decade, contributing to population declines of up to 80 percent in the Asian species and a subsequent increase in inter-continental trade in pangolin parts from African countries to Asian markets.
The Pangolin Conservation Initiative is a major boost to global efforts to conserve pangolins, which have enjoyed increasing conservation attention since the re-establishment of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group in 2012.
In 2014 the group published a global conservation action plan ‘Scaling up pangolin conservation’, which highlights the need to reduce demand for pangolins in consumer countries and step up enforcement efforts in pangolin trade hotspots. The new project will contribute to these key objectives and help build a collaborative effort to secure the future of these remarkable animals.