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Giant pangolin (Smutsia gigantea)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 180517814

Market survey and population characteristics of three species of pangolins (Pholidota) in the Republic of the Congo

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 180517814) - Giant pangolin - Awarded $2,700 on June 19, 2018

Pangolins are considered the most illegally trafficked mammals on the planet at this moment. They are increasingly under threat due to a huge demand for their meat, skin, and scales. In addition, their low reproductive rate and densities make them even more sensitive to over-exploitation. There are eight species of pangolins worldwide and three of them (Smutsia gigantea, Phataginus tetradactyla, Phataginus tricuspis) are found in the Republic of the Congo. Despite the fact according to IUCN they are categorized as vulnerable and international trade of them is banned, populations of pangolins are still being hunted and depleted. It is crucial to get more baseline information about these highly endangered species for effective conservation management. Understanding of local beliefs and attitude towards these unique animals is one of the ways in which this can be achieved. Therefore, we plan to conduct a questionnaire survey with local hunters, villagers and market traders to obtain more knowledge about pangolins which will be helpful for the future conservation efforts of pangolins in the Republic of the Congo. A necessary part of the research will be also monitoring and evaluation of population characteristics of dead pangolins that may be observed at markets. To supplement the questionnaires, tissue samples of pangolins will be transported to the genetics laboratory in the Czech Republic and evaluated as well.   




Research objectives:


- To identify uses of pangolins and its products.

- To identify hunting frequency, methods and motivations.

- To evaluate population characteristics of encountered pangolins.

- To determine the status of pangolins in the study area.

- To identify trade dynamics in the surrounding markets. 

- To increase awareness about pangolins among local people in Congo as well as in the Czech Republic and strengthen their protection. 

- To obtain more information about encountered pangolins using genetic methods.

- To create recommendations for conservation of pangolins in the Republic of the Congo in cooperation with the management of the Odzala-Kokoua National Park.



Project document