Zimbabwe Introduces First Conservation Strategy for Endangered Ground Pangolins

-The ground pangolin is under threat from poaching, illegal trade, habitat loss, and degradation in both inside and outside Protected Areas.

John Cassim

Harare, Zimbabwe – In a significant step towards safeguarding the endangered ground pangolins, the Zimbabwean government, in partnership with the Tikki Hywood Foundation, has unveiled the country’s inaugural conservation strategy.

This pioneering initiative, spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks), marks a crucial effort to combat the myriad threats facing these unique creatures.

Founded by Lisa Hywood in 1994 in memory of her father, Tikki Hywood, the Tikki Hywood Foundation stands as a testament to the enduring commitment to wildlife preservation.

The Zimbabwe National Pangolin Conservation Strategy and Action Plan, spanning from 2023 to 2027, represents a data-driven approach aimed at preserving the dwindling populations of ground pangolins.

Among the eight pangolin species worldwide, the ground pangolin finds its habitat within Zimbabwe. However, rampant poaching, illegal trade, and habitat encroachment both within and outside protected areas have placed these creatures under imminent threat.

In the forward, Director General of ZimParks, Dr. Fulton Mangwanya, expressed concern over the scarcity of resources for pangolin conservation and habitat preservation.

“The government recognizes these challenges as significant impediments to the effective protection of pangolins, their habitats, and the diverse flora and fauna inhabiting these ecosystems,” Dr. Mangwanya stated.

He emphasized the pivotal role of sustainable natural resource management in successful conservation efforts across the country.

Of the four pangolin species native to Africa, two are arboreal, inhabiting the forests of central and West Africa, while the remaining two are ground-dwelling species.

The giant pangolin is prevalent in the Congo basin and West Africa, whereas the Smutsia Temmincki pangolin, the most widespread, is found in the savannas and woodlands of eastern and southern Africa.

Despite its relatively extensive distribution, comprehensive data regarding the current status, population dynamics, and distribution patterns of Temminck’s pangolin within Zimbabwe remain elusive.

Under the Parks and Wildlife Act, pangolins in Zimbabwe enjoy special protection status, and they are listed under CITES Appendix I, signifying their critical conservation status. Moreover, according to the IUCN Red List criteria, pangolins are classified as Vulnerable, underscoring the urgent need for concerted conservation efforts.

With the launch of the Zimbabwe National Pangolin Conservation Strategy and Action Plan, Zimbabwe takes a decisive stride towards preserving its rich biodiversity and ensuring the survival of the imperiled ground pangolin species.

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