The African Pangolin Working Group (APWG) was established on 27 June 2011, following an inaugural meeting by a diverse group of people who all have one passion in common – understanding and protecting pangolins in Africa. Many of our members also serve on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission Pangolin Specialist Group (IUCN SSC PSG). The APWG’s objectives are encompassed by its mission statement:
“The African Pangolin Working Group will strive towards the conservation and protection of all four African pangolin species by generating knowledge, developing partnerships and creating public awareness and education initiatives.”
Pangolins in Africa are increasingly threatened by man's numerous activities. Every year numerous pangolins are illegally smuggled to Asian markets while many more individuals are traded domestically, are accidentally killed on electrified fences and are accidentally killed on roads. The current rate of consumption and mortality is believed to far exceed the reproductive potential of the species, with the result that these species are being pushed ever closer to extinction.
The group's activities are multi-faceted, and all aim to conserve these unique and iconic mammals. We have a strong focus on research, as this guides conservation initiatives and provides concrete information that is used to guide all our activities. We also engage with provincial, national and international law enforcement agencies to better protect pangolins through capacity-building and advice. Thirdly, we undertake public awareness campaigns in order to highlight the existence and the plight of pangolins so that people can make informed decisions. We work closely with rehabilitation centres to ensure that confiscated pangolins are returned to the wild whenever possible. We also engage with national and international NGOs, NPOs, scientists and other role-players, sharing knowledge and working together to ensure the continued survival of pangolins.