Increasing our knowledge of the Malayan Pangolin
© Andrew Tham
To study habitat preference and spatial ecology of Malayan pangolins in Singapore
The Malayan pangolin, Manis javanica, is an uncommon mammal, listed in the Singapore Red Data Book, and is found in the central and western catchment areas of the country and elsewhere in scrubland. The Malayan pangolin is under severe pressure from hunting and trade in Southeast Asia as there is demand for nearly all its body parts. Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy by some communities in Asia, and the skin produces distinctively patterned leather for fashion shoes, handbags and other accessories. Therefore, although it is a nocturnal and highly elusive mammal, large numbers are often seized by poachers or smugglers. Yet, only little is known about their basic ecology in the natural environment. Such knowledge, would, however, be required to protect the species effectively.
In order to investigate the habitat preference of the species a project was set up using radio-telemetry. In addition, other aspects of the species' spatial ecology (e.g. home range, daily distance moved) and daily activity cycles are also looked at. After much correspondence with researchers in the region and preliminary fieldwork at various possible sites, the present study site in Singapore was decided. For the project, capturing sufficient number of individuals for the radio-telemetry study was a top priority, and presently, quite a number of individuals have been tagged. In addition, the public has been invited to report any roadkilled or live pangolins.
WAZA Conservation Project 06009 is implemented by Mr. Norman Lim, Department of Biological Sciences of the National University of Singapore, and supported by the Singapore Zoological Gardens and the Wildlife Conservation Society (New York).
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© Andrew Tham