Pangolins or scaly anteaters (order Pholidota, meaning “scaled animals”) are a group of unusual mammals with tough, protective keratin scales. The phylogenetic position of the Pholidota remains a disputed topic. Pangolins were once included together with the anteaters, sloths, armadillos and the African aardvark in the order Xenarthra (formerly Edentata), so named because of the lack of some or all of the teeth. It is now believed, however, that any morphological similarities between the pangolins and other ant-eating mammals are the results of parallel adaptations to a common way of life.
The ancestors of the pangolins are thought to have been members of the suborder Palaeanodonta, which diverged from the ancestral edentates some 60 million years ago. These small, armourless animals rapidly became extinct but their successors evolved into the order Pholidota. The fossil record implies that the ancestors of modern day pangolins colonized Africa before Asia, suggesting Asian pangolins evolved later than their African relatives.
Today, the Pholidota is one of the smallest of the placental mammals, containing just one family, the Manidae, with eight living species. Four species are found in Africa and three in Southeast Asia.
Classified as Critically Endangered (A2d+3d+4d) on the 2014 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
This project supports in-country EDGE Fellows to help conserve relevant EDGE species
Trade-confiscated pangolins are often released into protected areas with no monitoring and no, or inadequate, health checks. Many of these releases have involved Vietnam's wildlife confiscation authorities. There is no data to suggest that these animals survive post-release. Indeed, experience at the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program in Vietnam has shown that many trade-confiscated pangolins are nutritionally stressed, have injuries from hunting traps and need substantial rehabilitation. It is highly likely, therefore, that many of the released pangolins do not survive.
This project has been designed to develop nationally feasible, international standard release guidelines and protocols for trade-confiscated Sunda pangolins. The protocols will function as a blueprint for future releases and will raise awareness of the required steps in a successful release amongst Vietnam's confiscation authorities. This project will involve the complete rehabilitation, full health checks and monitored release of trade-confiscated Sunda pangolins. The release site will be in Cat Tien National Park and the pangolins will be monitored for a minimum of 10 months using VHF radio-telemetry.
This will be the first project of its kind in Vietnam and will produce a better national strategy for dealing with trade-confiscated Sunda pangolins that is highly beneficial to the conservation of this incredibly endangered mammal.
Phuong is a conservationist working on little known but highly threatened species of small carnivore and pangolin
Conservation geneticist: Wildgenes laboratory
I am a criminology graduate student. Research interests: Wildlife trade, illegal logging
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