PLIGHT OF THE PANGOLIN

If you’ve never seen one before, you might be shocked to know that they even exist. Yes, it’s the pangolin…the only mammals with scales, made from keratin (the same material as our nails and hair). Unfortunately, the feature that makes them so unique and is meant to protect them, their scales, is also why they have been hunted to near extinction.

Their scales are used in traditional medicines (as well as other parts of the animal), and pangolins are further targeted for consumption as a delicacy. Between January to August 2019, an estimated equivalent of 110,000 scales and pangolin parts were confiscated worldwide. The Sunda pangolin is now considered to be the most trafficked mammal in the world (IUCN 2014).

“When I arrived in Cambodia, the pangolin was listed as a Common Species. Just 15 years later, it was unfortunately relisted as Critically Endangered. Demand for their scales in neighbouring Vietnam and China in ‘Traditional Chinese Medicine’, as well as for their meat amongst the upper class, has provided poachers with a high incentive and has consequently rendered them near extinct.”

– Suwanna Gauntlett, Wildlife Alliance Founder & CEO

By tagging and tracking pangolins that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and rehabilitated back into the wild, Sovath and the team hope to understand how to improve release protocols of pangolins.

FIGHTING THE ILLEGAL PANGOLIN TRADE

Wildlife Alliance has rescued 401 live Sunda pangolins from the illegal wildlife trade since 2001:

  • 385 by our multi-agency anti-wildlife trafficking unit, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team, WRRT, from smuggled shipments on national roads, on their way to Vietnam and China, and raids on restaurants in the main urban hubs.
  • 16 by our Cardamom Forest Protection Rangers, as they patrol the dense monsoon forest, removing lethal traps from the forest floor, rescuing live animals from these traps and checking motorbikes coming out of the forest (poachers often hide pangolins under their motorbike seats).

PLIGHT OF THE PANGOLIN

If you’ve never seen one before, you might be shocked to know that they even exist. Yes, it’s the pangolin…the only mammals with scales, made from keratin (the same material as our nails and hair). Unfortunately, the feature that makes them so unique and is meant to protect them, their scales, is also why they have been hunted to near extinction.

Their scales are used in traditional medicines (as well as other parts of the animal), and pangolins are further targeted for consumption as a delicacy. Between January to August 2019, an estimated equivalent of 110,000 scales and pangolin parts were confiscated worldwide. The Sunda pangolin is now considered to be the most trafficked mammal in the world (IUCN 2014).

“This remarkable mammal has touched our hearts with its strong maternal instinct and calm nature.”

– Suwanna Gauntlett, Wildlife Alliance Founder & CEO

By tagging and tracking pangolins that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and rehabilitated back into the wild, Sovath and the team hope to understand how to improve release protocols of pangolins.

FIGHTING THE ILLEGAL PANGOLIN TRADE

Wildlife Alliance has rescued 401 live Sunda pangolins from the illegal wildlife trade since 2001:

  • 385 by our multi-agency anti-wildlife trafficking unit, the Wildlife Rapid Rescue Team, WRRT, from smuggled shipments on national roads, on their way to Vietnam and China, and raids on restaurants in the main urban hubs.
  • 16 by our Cardamom Forest Protection Rangers, as they patrol the dense monsoon forest, removing lethal traps from the forest floor, rescuing live animals from these traps and checking motorbikes coming out of the forest (poachers often hide pangolins under their motorbike seats).
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Hectares of pangolin habitat protected
0
Live pangolins rescued
0
Snares removed from the forest floor
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Hectares of pangolin habitat protected
0
Live pangolins rescued
0
Snares removed from the forest floor

HABITAT PROTECTION

Wildlife Alliance directly protects the Cardamom Mountains, one of the main habitats for the Sunda pangolin and Southeast Asia’s largest remaining mainland dense monsoon forest, through our Cardamom Forest Protection Program (CFPP)  Barbaric snares, made from a simple rope or metal wire, are the biggest threat to Cambodia’s wildlife and will kill anything that strays into their path, including pangolins. Our specialized ranger units over 10 stations have removed approximately 250,000 snares and 630 motorbikes, often used by poachers to traffic pangolins underneath the seat.

HABITAT PROTECTION

Wildlife Alliance directly protects the Cardamom Mountains, one of the main habitats for the Sunda pangolin and Southeast Asia’s largest remaining mainland dense monsoon forest, through our Cardamom Forest Protection Program (CFPP)  Barbaric snares, made from a simple rope or metal wire, are the biggest threat to Cambodia’s wildlife and will kill anything that strays into their path, including pangolins. Our specialized ranger units over 10 stations have removed approximately 250,000 snares and 630 motorbikes, often used by poachers to traffic pangolins underneath the seat.

REHABILITATION & RESEARCH

Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Release Station (WRS) rehabilitates pangolins that are rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. Rescued pangolins are provided with a health check and, if deemed suitable, are immediately ‘hard-released’ back into their protected habitat. Those that are too young or injured are rehabilitated following general IUCN Reintroduction Guidelines. Individuals are rehabilitated in enclosures inside the forest at WRS for approximately 3 months to become acclimatized to the area in a ‘soft release’, where the enclosure door is opened and food is provided for as long as needed.

REHABILITATION & RESEARCH

Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Release Station (WRS) rehabilitates pangolins that are rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. Rescued pangolins are provided with a health check and, if deemed suitable, are immediately ‘hard-released’ back into their protected habitat. Those that are too young or injured are rehabilitated following general IUCN Reintroduction Guidelines. Individuals are rehabilitated in enclosures inside the forest at WRS for approximately 3 months to become acclimatized to the area in a ‘soft release’, where the enclosure door is opened and food is provided for as long as needed.

By tagging and tracking pangolins that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and rehabilitated back into the wild, Sovath and the team hope to understand how to improve release protocols of pangolins.

#STOPEATINGWILDLIFE CAMPAIGN

In addition to our continuous efforts on the ground to fight the illegal trade in pangolins, our #StopEatingWildlife social media campaign aims to fight the supply, demand and consumption of wildlife meat. We aim to do this by making wildlife consumers in Cambodia more aware of the health risks eating wildlife poses to public health, as we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic. Epidemiologists and conservationists around the world are calling for an end to the illegal wildlife trade and we are joining them too.

#STOPEATINGWILDLIFE CAMPAIGN

In addition to our continuous efforts on the ground to fight the illegal trade in pangolins, our #StopEatingWildlife social media campaign aims to fight the supply, demand and consumption of wildlife meat. We aim to do this by making wildlife consumers in Cambodia more aware of the health risks eating wildlife poses to public health, as we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic. Epidemiologists and conservationists around the world are calling for an end to the illegal wildlife trade and we are joining them too.

By tagging and tracking pangolins that have been rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and rehabilitated back into the wild, Sovath and the team hope to understand how to improve release protocols of pangolins.

“This remarkable mammal has touched our hearts with its strong maternal instinct and calm nature.”

– Suwanna Gauntlett, Wildlife Alliance Founder & CEO

SPONSOR A PANGOLIN

Fighting the illegal pangolin trade

SPONSOR A PANGOLIN

Fighting the illegal pangolin trade