Unknown risk of extinction
From 24 to 27 June 2017, more than 50 conservationists, researchers and wildlife authorities from 16 countries convened in Singapore to develop an overarching conservation strategy for the Sunda pangolin, the world’s most trafficked mammal.
The ‘Scaling up Pangolin Conservation Workshop’ was organised by the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group, IUCN SSC Asian Species Action Partnership (ASAP), IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group, and Wildlife Reserves Singapore, and sponsored by the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund (WRSCF).
“The sheer scale of the pangolin trade is colossal, and time is of the essence,”
said Dr. Dan Challender, Chair of the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group.
“The only way to stop the decline is through a clear strategy and unified effort.”
In 2016, all eight species of pangolins received the highest level of international protection under the Convention of International Trade on Endangered Species (CITES) when they were uplisted to Appendix I, which bans international commercial trade. China and Vietnam are the global centres of demand for pangolin meat and scales.
The meat is consumed as a luxury dish and the scales are used in various traditional medicines. Strengthening domestic legislation and policies to combat the illegal wildlife trade remains a top concern.
“Ensuring the survival of a critically endangered species such as the Sunda pangolin requires collaboration and commitment,”
said Nerissa Chao of the IUCN SSC Asian Species Action Partnership.
“This has been a terrific moment to bring people together from across the region.”
This workshop will help kick-start a series of regional and national meetings to create a global strategy for all eight pangolin species.
“There’s a real sense of urgency but also a sense of optimism,”
said Sonja Luz of Wildlife Reserves Singapore.
“We can change the plight of the Sunda pangolin to make it a wildlife success story.”
The final report from the workshop will be released later this year, and will be available for free at the IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group website.