My name is Tran Quang Phuong and I have just started an EDGE Fellowship working on the Sunda pangolin. I am interested in the conservation of small carnivores and Asian pangolins in Vietnam and I have been working for the Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program (CPCP) in Vietnam since 2005. The program is committed to securing a future for wild populations of threatened carnivores and pangolins in Vietnam.
Vietnam is inhabited by two species of pangolin: the Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) and the Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica). The country is also a significant source, destination and transit point in illegal pangolin trade. Pangolins are traded in massive quantities in Vietnam and many of the confiscations are of individuals that have originated from surrounding countries. They are traded to meet demand for wild meat and traditional medicine in China and Vietnam.
As a consequence of this illegal trade, many trade-confiscated pangolins have been released into the wild without monitoring or basic health checks. However, there is no data to suggest that these animals will survive once released. In fact, it’s highly likely that many of these released pangolins do not survive because, as our experiences at the CPCP have shown, trade-confiscated pangolins need substantial rehabilitation before they can be considered healthy.
My Fellowship project focuses on developing nationally feasible, international standard release guidelines and protocols for trade-confiscated Sunda pangolins. It will involve the rehabilitation, complete health check and monitored release of several trade-confiscated Sunda pangolins.
The aim is to conduct at least 10 months of post-release monitoring using VHF radio-telemetry inside Cat Tien National Park in South Vietnam. The project is the first of its kind in Vietnam and will be a very exciting time for me and the rest of my team.
I shall keep you regularly updated!