World Pangolin Day 2018


World Pangolin Day 2018 celebrations by WWF-Pakistan in collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change at the Pakistan Museum of Natural History.The advocacy event was organized to raise awareness and sensitize students, researchers and communities regarding the negative impacts of illegal trade of pangolins. Pangolins are considered one of the world’s most heavily trafficked mammals and over 100,000 pangolins have been victims of illegal wildlife trade since 2011. The Indian pangolin (Manis crassudata), which is distributed across Pakistan, has been declared endangered in 2009 by the IUCN.

Despite being protected under the Islamabad Wildlife Ordinance, 1975 and the North-West Frontier Province Wildlife Act, 1975 this species is rapidly declining as a result of illegal killing for international trade.Pakistan lies along a strategic air and sea route, forming a gateway to East Asia, which makes it a major source and transit country for illegal wildlife trade.Due to increasing demand for meat, scales and derived products, the Indian pangolin remains one of the highest trafficked species sourced from Pakistan.

According to IUCN estimates, over 50 per cent decrease in the global pangolin population will occur over the next 21 years. In order to protect the species against illegal trade, WWF-Pakistan has carried out several projects.

The Chief Guest of the event, Syed Mahmood Nasir, Inspector General Forests, Ministry of Climate Change said that pangolin trafficking has increased mainly due to its international demand. He further added that continued pangolin trafficking will cause the species to become extinct, which will result in a population explosion of white ants and other harmful insects.He stressed that raising awareness and strong legislation in existing provincial laws can help address the issue of illegal trade of pangolins. Muhammad Waseem, Conservation Coordinator, WWF-Pakistan discussed WWF’s newly initiated project titled Saving the Pangolins of Pakistan-Conservation of the Indian Pangolin through research and management to counter wildlife trafficking and address pangolin poaching and trade in the regions of Potohar and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).The event was attended by students from various universities and senior officials of AJK Wildlife Department, Wildlife Department Rawalpindi, and Islamabad Wildlife Management Board. A short WWF-Pakistan documentary, Pangolins in Peril, was also screened during the event.

Source : WWF, Pakistan