The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) and the USAID Protect Wildlife project organized a roundtable discussion to find ways of applying the findings of the USAID-funded study, “Indicative Presence and Abundance of the Palawan Pangolin in Victoria-Anepahan Mountain Range.” The discussants were representatives of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Katala Foundation, Nagkakaisang mga Tribu ng Palawan, Palawan State University, Western Philippines University and Zoological Society of London. These organizations constitute the Philippine Pangolin Conservation Subcommittee, whose goal is to enhance the Philippine Pangolin (Manis culionensis) Conservation Strategy.
Dr. Sabine Schoppe of Katala Foundation discussed the findings of the study, which used a combination of methods—ground survey, camera traps, and a local knowledge survey—to record the presence of Philippine pangolins, examine their forest habitats, and identify threats to their survival. The study ran from 2018 to 2019 and focused on Victoria-Anepahan, a key biodiversity area in Palawan with no existing legal protection and conservation measures.
The subcommittee went through the goals laid out in the conservation strategy and took stock of what had been accomplished, what was ongoing, and what would need to be done based on the research results. Among the actions plans discussed were the following:
- Streamlining rescue and confiscation protocol of pangolins;
- Declaring the Philippine pangolin as the provincial flagship species;
- Enhancing training for wildlife law enforcers to develop skills such as detecting concealment methods for pangolin scales;
- Training local dogs to detect illegal pangolin trade at airports and seaports; and
- Improving and streamlining conservation knowledge in Palawan schools using standardized pre- and post-test metrics.
(PWP/ Lawrence San Diego)