“The provision of safe and suitable habitat is crucial for the long-term survival of pangolins, the most heavily trafficked mammal on the planet,” African Parks said in a ststement issued from South Africa.
African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. In Malawi, it operates four parks, including Liwonde, Nkhotakotaand Majete game reserves.
With the largest counter-poaching force and the most amount of area under protection for any one NGO in Africa, African Parks manages 16 national parks and protected areas in ten countries covering over 11 million hectares in Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
On the other hand, Tikki Hywood Foundation, also a non-profit organisation, strives to bring recognition, awareness and sustainable conservation action to lesser known endangered species, such as Pangolin. With an expansive view on welfare, policy and legislation for wildlife, we engage with appropriate authorities to effect proactive change for the improved preservation of fauna and flora.
African Parks said the partnership will comprise of cross-continent cooperation, harnessing Tikki Hywood Foundation's specialised species knowledge and skills and African Parks' operational capacity in remote areas to rescue, rehabilitate and release trafficked or vulnerable animals into parks managed by African Parks in partnership with governments.
“Without collaborative action, this lesser-known and critically endangered animal will disappear forever in the face of a rampant illicit trade” said African Parks CEO Peter Fearnhead.
“In partnering with the respected Tikki Hywood Foundation, we can take the rescue and rehabilitation of pangolins a step further – giving them adequate safe harbour in well-protected areas vital for their survival in their remaining African range”.
The Foundation, based out of Zimbabwe, is a global authority on pangolins having worked with the mammals for 27 years, while African Parks manages 16 protected areas in 10 countries, many of which fall within pangolin range states.
As part of their shared vision to conserve pangolins in Africa, this joint endeavor will involve staff training in best practices and procedures for pangolin rehabilitation, the provision of specialised support and the resources needed to scale capacity to help secure the protection and wellbeing of rescued and orphaned pangolins across the continent.
“After having had the privilege of working with this enigmatic and highly threatened mammal for nearly three decades it is becoming alarmingly apparent that we could lose pangolin as a species within our lifetime. Now more than ever it is important for restorative action such as the work undertaken by African Parks. We are incredibly excited about this partnership as a platform for far-reaching conservation of pangolins.” Said Lisa Hywood, Founder & CEO of Tikki Hywood Foundation.
Brutally persecuted for their scales and meat, pangolin numbers are plummeting. Around 100,000 are taken from the wild in Africa and Asia each year, driving a silent extinction.
Populations have declined dramatically across the continent, with pockets of isolated wilderness areas retaining the last healthy populations. Well-managed parks in key range states and collective cooperation to ensure the implementation of sound policy are of paramount importance to securing a future for pangolins and countless other species.
These toothless, scaly anteaters are named after the Malay word pengguling which means “one who rolls up”. Pangolins are found in nine out of the 16 parks African Parks manages.