Tracking and saving pangolin
Tracking and saving pangolin
The Tikki Hywood Trust is a non-profit organisation focused on the preservation of smaller, lesser known and endangered species. It has been involved in pangolin conservation since 1994, from breeding to research to lobbying for harsher penalties for poaching. The species has a high price on its head, both for its cultural significance in Zimbabwe, and now, more ominously, from the Asian market’s insatiable appetite for its body parts.
The year has started well for the Tikki Hywood Trust’s pangolin work in Zimbabwe; all rescued pangolins have been successfully released into protected areas. The Trust has also succeeded in increasing the severity of the penalty for poaching pangolins through lobbying to improve legislation for this specially protected species.
Pangolins are listed in CITES Appendix II, which means limited controlled trade is allowed. By working with Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA), other regional Parks authorities, scientists and interested groups, the Trust hopes to eventually elevate the CITES listing of this species to Appendix I and stop all trade.
The immediate aim of the Trust’s pangolin work is to bring poaching to a halt in Zimbabwe and ensure that the stiff penalties that have recently been legislated are imposed in all cases.
The Trust is an active member of both The African Pangolin Working Group and the IUCN Species Survival Commission for Pangolin. It determines the current status and distribution of pangolin in Zimbabwe by gathering data from around the country with the authority of ZPWMA.
The Trust liaises with the Parks Authority and legal groups responsible for dealing with poached pangolin, so that where possible, when live animals are confiscated, they are taken to the Trust for assessment and monitoring. Once they are healthy enough they are released back into protected environments and tracked.
The Trust is currently compiling a husbandry manual for the management of rescued pangolin in captivity. ‘This is strictly for emergency situations, as we don’t advocate that pangolins remain in captivity,’ says Lisa Hywood, founder and managing trustee.
‘Currently our work is based on ground pangolin, however we are now helping a group who are rehabilitating white bellied tree pangolins in Sierra Leone and we continue to forge similar relationships with groups throughout Africa.’
In Zimbabwe, the Trust tracks pangolins with transmitters in safe release sites to determine their range, territory, diet and other aspects of their behaviour and ecology – essential work, as very little is known about these shy, nocturnal and rare animals.
Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 12, March 2013)
Zambezi Traveller Directory:
Trikki Hywood Trust