Protecting Pangolins

by David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Protecting Pangolins
Pangolin - Gareth Thomas
Pangolin - Gareth Thomas

Throughout the last 12 months our ground-based conservation partners in Kenya, The Pangolin Project have continued to identify key areas with relatively high frequency of sightings of Temminck’s Ground Pangolin through employment of community-based pangolin guardians. The guardians receive specialised training, and their focus has been on identifying priority areas of focus through identifying areas with a relatively high frequency of pangolin sightings. With more boots on the ground, they have expanded their range of surveyed, monitored and protection areas and worked increasingly closely with Kenya Wildlife Service. This has resulted in an increased number of reports of pangolins held by community members and an increased frequency of pangolin scales recovered, reported and secured by the Kenya Wildlife Service. In addition, through the process of establishing the pangolin guardians they have created increased awareness amongst community leadership, county leadership and conservancy board members about pangolins and the need to conserve them which has led to increased collaboration.

Pangolin Project highlights and statistics from June 2021 to May 2022:

  • 87 sightings of the Temminck’s Ground Pangolin recorded.
  • 9 sighting of the Giant Ground Pangolin recorded.
  • 4 dead Pangolin or carcasses found and reported.
  • 3 incidents where scales have been found and safely recovered, total of 354 scales recovered.
  • 50 camera traps installed.
  • 9 Ranger training workshops held.
  • 421 events have been carried out delivering key messages to community members.
  • 111 communities positively affected by organisation interaction through the education and awareness programme.

The Pangolin Project has used the sighting data from the last year to focus their activities in 2022 on specific regions due to the increased presence of giant ground pangolin, the relatively high frequency of reported sightings and increased threats within these areas, which include habitat loss as a result of rapid deforestation, electric fence electrocution and poaching. A team of six pangolin guardians will be full time employees to monitor these areas and work with the communities living alongside them.

As well as delivering key messages, the communities will be offered an incentive scheme if they report a giant pangolin Sighting. The pangolin guardians will act as a conduit for these reports. They will be required to respond immediately and will initiate a rapid response team that will respond to any reported giant pangolin incidents and either: 1. Attach a monitoring tag to the pangolin 2. Assist in relocation of the pangolin if required 3. Assist in moving carcasses and scales to a secure location with Kenya Wildlife Service. Through swift reporting and response our ground-based conservation partners can continue to provide protection for this rare species.

This report highlights the important work of just one of our ground-based conservation partners protecting the pangolins across Africa which is only made possible with your support. Thanks to loyal donors like you DSWF can continue to support all our partners working across Africa and Asia to prevent pangolin poaching at its source, fund law enforcement efforts in Africa by tackling the illegal trafficking of the species, support wildlife rangers and pangolin guardians on the ground, as well as supporting large-scale demand reduction campaigns in consumer countries like Vietnam, China and Nigeria.

Thank you for your continued support.

Find out more about our work with Pangolins

Pangolin - Gareth Thomas
Pangolin - Gareth Thomas
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Wild Pangolin with GPS Tag, Credit Barry Butler
Wild Pangolin with GPS Tag, Credit Barry Butler

Thank you for supporting David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) Protecting Pangolins.

Pangolins are the most trafficked mammal in the world. The exact pangolin population figure remains unknown due to the species’ shy nature and nocturnal habits. What is known is that over one million pangolins are believed to have been traded illegally in the last decade.

Kenya is home to the Temminck’s Ground Pangolin (S. temminckii), and the Giant Ground Pangolin (S.gigantea). With help from DSWF funding, our project partners in Kenya are currently conducting a pangolin population survey across protected regions in the Greater Mara Ecosystem in Kenya. These surveys enable them to evaluate and measure the impact of their wider pangolin conservation programme, which DSWF also supports.

Pangolins are notoriously hard to find. They are nocturnal, silent, small and well camouflaged. Female pangolins are known to have a large home range which may overlap with another pangolins range. They live in burrows which can be as big as 18 feet long and have multiple entrances and many chambers. Their burrows are often shared with other wildlife such as aardvarks and warthogs.

The team firstly identify a pangolin burrow then they set up a camera trap and awaiting a sighting of a Pangolin to identify it. Pangolins do not have overly identifiable markings, so it makes identifying individuals from camera trap images difficult. Whereas with big cats and elephants a tracking collar can be used to monitor and track them, Pangolins require a tracking tag attached to one of its tail scales. These are designed to be safe and harmless to the pangolin whilst not limiting its natural behaviours or movements.

Through tagging pangolins, the team can then monitor the pangolin via GPS and track it in the field. Although it is still difficult to track them during the day when they can be far below ground in the burrow. The GPS locations area analysed to show range and which areas are pangolin hot spots. This is then used to establish ranger and anti-poaching patrols to ensure these pangolin hot spots receive prioritised protection. Where pangolin ranges are identified close to local communities, rangers are deployed to provide community outreach to minimise the risk of human wildlife conflict and provide education to the communities to increase protection of the species.

As there is little published research on Pangolin behaviour and habitat. The tracking data and camera trap footage also provides information on pangolin movement, range, breeding, social dynamics as well as preferred habitat which all provides vital insights to assist in the development of an effective conservation strategy through a deeper understanding of the species and it’s needs for survival.

We recently received amazing news from the team on the ground in Kenya that one of the tagged pangolins being monitored in the protected area has a new pup! In actual fact, this will be her fourth pup since 2019. Proving that with the required support and protection pangolin populations are able to increase year on year. With your continued support we can ensure this shy but wonderful animal is protected for future generations.

Find out more about our work with Pangolins

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) would love to keep you up-to-date with how your generous support is making a difference, share exciting wildlife conservation stories and tell you about forthcoming campaigns, fundraising initiatives and events. Please let us know how you would like to hear from us via our online form: Stay In Touch

Pangolin Burrow & Camera trap, Credit Barry Butler
Pangolin Burrow & Camera trap, Credit Barry Butler
Camera trap Image of Pangolin, Credit Barry Butler
Camera trap Image of Pangolin, Credit Barry Butler
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Image Credit: Gareth Thomas
Image Credit: Gareth Thomas

Happy New Year and thank you for your ongoing support of David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation through GlobalGiving.

Over the past six-months, David Shepherd wildlife Foundation (DSWF) has continued to work alongside our ground-based conservation partners in Kenya to protect the countries endangered pangolin population.

Through a community-based Pangolin Ambassador program, DSWF have worked to increase awareness amongst communities about the endangered pangolin and the need to protect them. By recording and reporting pangolin sightings and incidents, the programme is building a data map of pangolin habitats and poaching hotspots which in turn informs rangers and law enforcement efforts in in the area.

In the past 6 months, DSWF funding has contributed to:

  • The rescue and release of 1 pangolin.
  • 30 Pangolin sightings being recorded
  • 24 workshops being conducted with communities, wildlife services and local leadership.
  • The engagement of 109 communities through the promotion of pangolin conservation messaging.

In China, DSWF have continued to support our long-term conservation partners to implement a far-reaching demand reduction campaign which focuses on reducing the consumption of pangolin products in Asia.

Over the past few months, DSWF supported a new campaign titled ‘Don’t be a Villain’ with Jackie Chan. The campaign displayed pangolin and tiger adverts supporting China’s decision to ban the trade and consumption of terrestrial wild animals with 370 billboards being placed in airports and train stations. The campaign video received over 5 million views online.

In Vietnam, DSWF have supported an additional demand reduction campaign titled the “Pangolins Are Still Endangered”. The campaign highlights the alarming rate of poaching and consumption of pangolins in Vietnam and calls on the general public to protect pangolins with the message “The more we know, the less we harm pangolin’’. The campaign has been broadcast on media channels across Vietnam, reaching over 6 million people online and in taxis, and generated over 70 new articles.

The Bigger Picture

Over the past 12 months, DSWF have continued our 37-year legacy of providing unwavering support to protect some of the world’s most endangered species. Over the course of 2022 we will continue to support our long-term conservation partners to protect wildlife, tackle wildlife crime and reduce poaching threats alongside engaging and supporting more community groups working to protect wildlife.

Thanks to your help, we have granted over £11 million in direct conservation support to turn the tide on extinction.

On behalf of everyone at DSWF and the wildlife we fight to protect, Thank You.


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Thank you for supporting David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation through GlobalGiving. As well as providing you with your bi-annual Pangolin project report full of fantastic news and results of this project, we would also like to inform you about an exciting campaign.

Despite their global recognition, relatively little is known about pangolin populations and trends. This makes implementing long-term conservation difficult. This year, DSWF have been working with our ground based-conservation partner in Kenya to build a real time data analysis and visualisation tool to map pangolin sightings, arrests, and other pangolin data. This information is vital to identify stronghold populations, to target anti-poaching patrols and to inform protection strategies.

Also in Kenya, DSWF has been working closely with our ground-based conversation partner in the Greater Mara to provide ranger training for the protection of pangolins. This year, DSWF funding contributed to the training of 365 rangers resulting in 18 ranger posts adapting their activities to enhance pangolin protection and anti-poaching patrols.

2019 was a record year for pangolin seizures with over 500kg of scales being confiscated globally. Acknowledging the vital importance of cracking down on wildlife crime in Uganda, DSWF have been supporting our ground-based conservation partners to promote awareness of pangolin protection laws and to strengthen pangolin trafficking investigations and prosecutions. Over the past year, these activities have led to the arrest of 60 pangolin traffickers, the seizure of 396kg of pangolins scales, 19 live pangolins and 2 pangolin skins.

In 2020, DSWF started funding a new pangolin partnership in Vietnams Pu Mat National Park. Over the last 12 months, DSWF supported ranger patrols covering 3,169km (equal to twice the length of Vietnam). These patrols are essential to deter poachers from entering the park and to remove snare traps. As a direct consequence of these efforts, the recovery of snares and guns in the area have dropped by 94% since the project inception and the park has become secured as a pangolin recovery site. DSWF have also been working with our ground-based conservation partners to communicate and enforce a new government directive cracking down on wildlife trade, hunting and consumption at the national scale. Data proves that the illegal poaching in Pu Mat has reduced by over 90% since the project started.

How can you help this vital work continue?

This week GlobalGiving are hosting their annual Little by Little campaign, this means that all donations donated through GlobalGiving to David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation between Monday 13th and Friday 17th September will receive 50% match funding from GlobalGiving. So, if you donate £20 today, we receive £30 towards Pangolin conservation making your contribution work that little bit harder!

We are hugely grateful that you have chosen to support us to help turn the tide on extinction. Thank you.

Little by Little Campaign T’s and C’s

  • Campaign runs from Monday 13th to Friday 17th September.
  • Donations up to the amount of $50 / £36 will be match funded by 50%.
  • One donation per unique donor will be match funded.
  • New monthly donations set up this week will be 50% match funded and your 4th donation will be 100% matched!
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Credit Gareth Thomas
Credit Gareth Thomas

Between 2015 and 2019, 240 tonnes of pangolin scales, originating from a cluster of African countries, were seized by law enforcement authorities. Yet still the use of pangolin scales in China remains legal and at least 56 pharmaceutical companies are producing a minimum of 64 commercially available medicines containing pangolin scales which is perpetuating demand and driving this iconic species towards extinction.

The David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) supports conservation partners and projects addressing both the supply and demand aspects involved in the wildlife trafficking chain of the Pangolin, leading to a reduction in the quantities of pangolin scales trafficked and the protection of wild pangolins from over exploitation and criminal activity. Through training community and park rangers and anti-poaching teams in Kenya, we have helped build a robust and replicable programme to mitigate pangolin poaching in the greater Mara ecosystem.

Across Vietnam and China, our ground-based conservation partners have implemented vital conservation programmes focusing on education surrounding the pangolin poaching crisis, dispelling the medicinal myths associated with pangolin scales, and ensuring the consumption of pangolin products becomes socially unacceptable.

In Vietnam and China, our ground based conservation partners have launched campaigns warning of the dangers of wildlife consumption to human and animal health, spotlighting pangolin consumption. Here a just a few highlights of the campaigns:

  • Promoting the Jay Chou pangolin video on social media, on TV sets, on outdoor digital screens and on billboards across 14 cities reaching over 525 million viewers.
  • Promoting social media messages urging the public not to consume wildlife products reaching 136M views.
  • Launching a comic billboard campaign with 224 billboards in 6 cities that reached 70M viewers in the first two weeks.
  • Mobilising over 60 top business leaders in a public “Pledge for Wildlife” to support closing wildlife markets/trade and ending consumption
  • Hosteing media training to establish best practices on spotlighting issues around wildlife consumption and protection to increase public awareness/education.

Whilst it’s vital to support anti-poaching initiatives to protect pangolins, DSWF believes that we must simultaneously work with societies to counteract demand in order to bring about long-term change.

To learn more about our work with Pangolins, please visit our website.

Thank you for your support in helping us turn the tide on extinction. 

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Organization Information

David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

Location: Guildford, Surrey - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @DSWFwildlife
Project Leader:
Theo Bromfield
Guildford, Surrey United Kingdom
$16,625 raised of $20,000 goal
327 donations
$3,375 to go
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