The African Pangolin Working Group is continually gathering data to map the past and current distribution of all four African pangolin species. The data that we gather are used to determine the current distribution of each species, are used to monitor changes in their distribution over time, and are used to inform local and national conservation efforts.
Not much is known about the cultural uses of pangolins in South Africa, how prevalent pangolins are in rural trade and what their importance is in the various South African cultures. This project is the first to attempt to quantify the pangolin trade in rural communities and establish the cultural uses of pangolins in South Africa.
Pangolins are widely traded in West African bushmeat markets, where they are used both as a source of protein and for Traditional African Medicine. Although a number of studies have been done on the prevalence of pangolins in West African bushmeat markets, these studies have generally been of short duration, limited to small regions, and many ore outdated. This study aims to provide recent statistics on the extent of the tradeand the traditional uses of pangolins and their derivatives across a wide geographical region.
Very little genetic work has been done on the four Central and West African Pangolin species thus far, and most of our knowledge regarding the relatedness of the species stems from morphological studies. As yet there are no estimates of the genetic diversity of each of the three Central and West African species, nor is it known whether there is any geographic structuring within each species, and if so whether they should be managed as different Evolutionary Significant Units. This project aims to start addressing some of these data gaps.
Not much is known about the bone morphology and muscle attachment of the front limbs of pangolins, and how this compares to other ant- and termite-eating mammals. Have different mammal species that feed on ants and termites evolved similar body forms and muscle attachment structures because of their similar foraging methods, or can differences in bone morphology and muscle attachment be used to infer the phylogenetic position of myrmecophagous mammals? This project is the first step towards answering these questions.
The effects that parasitism has on host population dynamics and ecology has received increasing attention in recent years, as parasites are a constant challenge to populations and individuals and act as one of the main selective forces that can influence their fitness. To date the threat posed by parasite burdens and the implications that this may have on mortality rates of pangolins has not been investigated in Africa. This study will use morphological and molecular techniques to identify ectoparasites that are collected from White-bellied, Black-bellied and Temminck’s Ground Pangolins, to investigate parasite loads and parasite diversity.