In commemoration of the 2020 World Pangolin Day, The Pangolin Conservation Working Group Nigeria (PCWGN) is collaborating with AFRINET Radio and TV Network, The African Pangolin Working Group South Africa and Uganda Wildlife Service to drive public awareness of the mammal.

Pangolin, which curls up into a ball when frightened, is the world’s most trafficked wild mammal and despite the severity of it’s poaching in Nigeria, many Nigerians have never heard of pangolins — including members of the law enforcement agencies.

“This collaboration will help generate the energy, expertise, and capacity to save the pangolins which is the most heavily trafficked mammal globally,” said Olajumoke Morenikeji, Chair PCWGN.

“The pangolin’s dire situation is further underscored by the recent inclusion of two African species on the IUCN Endangered list,” Morenikeji, who is also a Professor of Parasitology at the University of Ibadan, said.

Globally, there are eight species of pangolins; four in Asia, and another four in Africa. The giant pangolin – Manis gigantea; tree pangolin – Manis tricuspis, and long-tailed pangolin – Manis tetradactyla species are found in Nigeria.

The mammal is in high demand because it is believed to treat many ailments and diseases while serving as a delicacy in Africa and Asia, BusinessDay’s investigations found.

The insatiable appetite for pangolin meat and parts has led scientists to believe that a pangolin is being poached every five minutes, an entirely unsustainable speed, resulting in pangolin species being listed as vulnerable, endangered or critically-endangered on the IUCN Red List.

The conference will be taking place on February 14th at the University of Lagos and February 15th at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The theme of the conference is ‘Tackling Pangolin Trafficking in Nigeria’ and expected guest speakers will include Prof Ray Jansen (South Africa), Ms Nicci Wright from South Africa and Dr Zhou from China among others.

Conservationists, Zoologists, Wildlife experts, students, traditional rulers, traditional hunters, law enforcement agencies, relevant Government ministries, representatives of the Chinese community in Nigeria, the United States Embassy in Nigeria and other Embassies are expected to be in attendance.