Saving Pangolins One Step at a Time

There are multiple ways one can help to keep pangolins from becoming extinct. All 8 species at this point are likely to become extinct, the Asian species are listed as critically endangered or endangered. Pangolins rarely survive in captivity, therefore it is crucial that the areas where pangolin habitats are common be protected from illegal traffickers. Since pangolins are nocturnal and solitary creatures not much is known about their population levels or ecology which further complicates their chances of survival.

Monetary value assigned to a pangolin by different traffickers

Pangolins have become the most trafficked animal in Asia

There are many different approaches to increase the likelihood that generations to come will have this creature in the wild. Perhaps the most important is to improve the biological knowledge base so that scientist, governments, wildlife authorities, and local communities will have a better understanding of these species. It is likely that with this additional knowledge captured pangolins will have a greater chance of surviving in captivity.

Another important factor is raising awareness through education programs targeting not only to individuals but local communities and officials to ensure that pangolin habitats are protected. By maintaining a healthy balance of plants and animals in dry lowland rainforest in Harapan Rainforest local communities, government and NGOs have managed to provide a range of essential environmental services that ensure the survival of pangolins while being a source of nature-based tourism and research opportunity.

Rescue and rehability centers for pangolins are important since live animals are often confiscated from traffickers. However since pangolins are difficult to maintain in captivity the primary focus should be the prevention of removing pangolins from the wild in the first place. There are two large programs in Vietnam and Cambodia targeted at caring for rescued and injured pangolins. The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB) in Cambodia even has a special pangolin holding and breeding facility.