Okay, step away from the Google Doodle pangolin game for one minute, we’ve managed to grab four fabulous minutes of Q&A for you with a pangolin expert – Dr Dan Challender, Programme Officer in the Global Species Programme at the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to tell us some ‘need to know’ facts about pangolins and their plight.
What are the main threats to pangolins?
The main threat to pangolins is over-exploitation, including poaching of the animals for their scales, meat, and other parts for trafficking to Asian markets such as China and Vietnam, and domestic (i.e. local) use of their scales and meat.
What can be done to help better conserve pangolins?
There are many things that need to be done to conserve pangolins. Laws and regulations need to be implemented properly in countries where pangolins occur, there needs to be better understanding of demand for illegal pangolin products in order to change consumer behaviour to sustainable preferences, and more research needs to be done to determine where healthy pangolin populations occur in order to protect them. The IUCN Species Survival Commission Pangolin Specialist Group launched an action plan in 2014, ‘Scaling Up Pangolin Conservation’, detailing what needs to be done.
Where is the best place to see pangolins in the wild?
They are increasingly rare in many parts of Asia, and probably Africa as well. There are some place in West and Central Africa where you’ll likely see them if you visit, as well as Southern Africa – they would be my best bets.
Is there anything that we in the UK can do to help pangolins?
- Donate to conservation organisations to support pangolin conservation in all its forms
- Spread the word about pangolins at home and abroad to raise awareness of, and support for, pangolin conservation
- Become a pangolin conservationist. There is much to do to secure the conservation of pangolins – through becoming a conservation scientist you could really help.