Chinese pangolin photo by Scott Trageser via Creative Commons.

In a nutshell:

  • Community Conservation is beginning a pangolin conservation project in collaboration with Community Conservation Nepal, the Small Mammals Conservation and Research Foundation, Resources Himalaya Foundation, and The National Trust for Nature Conservation.
  • We will be teaching community forestry groups how to monitor pangolin populations and helping them to identify available habitats. This training will also raise awareness about the importance of pangolin conservation in Nepal.
  • The project will protect both species of pangolins in Nepal. Chinese pangolins (Manis pentadactyla) are critically endangered and Indian pangolins (Manis crassicaudata) are endangered.
A similar training we conducted in the Jhapa district of Nepal (early 2020).

Creating a community conservation corridor for pangolins

What we’re planning to do

In this part of Nepal, local groups called “Community Forestry User Groups” (CFUGS) work to manage and protect the forests they depend on for many resources, such as fuelwood and fodder.

Starting next week, we will be conducting trainings in which the local people learn basic wildlife monitoring techniques such as how to recognize wildlife signs (like tracks and scat) and how to use GPS. We are incorporating information specifically about pangolins into these trainings so that they can monitor pangolin populations too.

One of the skills that community forest groups learn is how to use wildlife cameras or “camera traps.” We will be helping the communities conduct habitat surveys of pangolins using these camera traps as well.

Dr. Dinesh Neupane shows training participants how to use a wildlife camera (2019).

To combat poaching of pangolins, we plan to help each community forest group form an anti-poaching unit.

Then, we will work directly with the community forestry groups to develop long-term community-based plans to protect pangolin habitat.

Our Goals

  1. Build awareness about pangolin conservation in the small communities in the area.
  2. Create a network of communities conserving pangolin at a landscape scale.
  3. Enhance understanding and knowledge of the conservation status, ecology, and habitat dynamics of pangolins through community-based monitoring.
  4. Create and implement community-based pangolin management plans.

Community Conservation’s previous work in Nepal

Community Conservation has been building relationships with community forest groups in Nepal since 2013, and Dr. Teri Allendorf has been working in Nepal since 1991. Since 2018, we’ve been working closely with 18 different communities across two districts. This project builds on those relationships.

Dr. Teri Allendorf, Dr. Rob Horwich, Nepali nonprofit partners, and local participants at a tiger monitoring training in 2013.

A key recommendation from a 2016 IUCN pangolin workshop in Nepal was to collect data on pangolins from community forest groups. We collected data across 96 community forest groups from the Bagmati River to the Mechi River and found that the majority of forests in the eastern half of this landscape said they had Chinese pangolin in their community forests and many said they had Indian pangolin as well.

The presence of both of these endangered species of pangolins in Southeastern Nepal is an opportunity. We are excited to incorporate pangolins into our trainings for community forest groups in Nepal and look forward to seeing the new data about pangolins that the communities collect.

Indian pangolin. Photo by Ansar Khan via Creative Commons.

About pangolins

Chinese and Indian pangolins inhabit human-dominated landscapes in Nepal that lie outside the existing protected areas. Pangolin populations are mainly threatened by illegal trade, habitat destruction, food deficiency, and low awareness among local communities about the species’ ecological significance.

Both species of pangolins are endangered species, and Chinese pangolins are critically endangered. They live in woodland and shrubland, dig burrows, and eat mostly ants and termites.