Category

research

SVW Winter-spring survey for small carnivores and pangolins (2011)

2011, Report on the winter – spring survey for small carnivores and pangolins in the Ngoc Son – Ngo Luong Nature Reserve, Hoa Binh province, Vietnam’
Field Report

Description: Willcox, D, Do, TH, Tran, QP 2011, Report on the winter – spring survey for small carnivores and pangolins in the Ngoc Son – Ngo Luong Nature Reserve, Hoa Binh province, Carnivore and Pangolin Conservation Program, Vietnam. Field Report

Keywords: Pangolin, small carnivores, threatened species, Vietnam

Finding Pangolin Using Detector Dog Project: Completed

Dog detection project

A two-month project looking for pangolins collaborating between University of Washington and Save Vietnam’s Wildlife using detection dogs has just come to the final stage.

The project:

Two teams of detector dogs, one dog and one handler each, from Conservation Canines in the US arrived in Vietnam to sniff out wild pangolin scat. Collected samples would then be genetically analysed from species and population, down to individuals level. The aim being to create the basis for a genetic population map, allowing authorities to identify where confiscations were originally taken from and therefore focus enforcement activities.

After a 2 month field project in 3 locations, from South Vietnam all the way to the North, the dog teams have finally returned to the US.

The findings:

Disappointingly, sample numbers throughout the project were far lower than expected; with only 1 wild Sunda pangolin scat sample being found in Cat Tien National Park. The teams trained the dogs using sites previously used to release captured pangolins, to ensure a greater chance of finding scat, however, even in an area where over 200 pangolins have been released over the years, only one released pangolin scat was located, along with one wild pangolin..

In Pu Mat, the teams found no wild pangolin scats, only potential burrows, poacher camps and wire snares.

To the North, in Na Hang protected area, again no scat was found, even though we had previously identified burrows and pangolin sign in the study area. However, they did uncover evidence of logging, snares and several poacher camps. Unfortunately surveys were limited due to the sickness of one of the dogs.

What this means:

In science even a lack of data tells us something! The results are by no means conclusive, but the low sample numbers could suggest a problem with this methodology in looking specifically for pangolin scat (perhaps that they often bury their scat), or that the population densities at the study sites have become so low that the chances for scat detection are equally low; or it may be a combination of the two factors.

Moving on…

In the search for genetic information about pangolins, and perhaps, for baseline population data too, it may be a case of ‘back to the drawing board’ to find methodologies that are effective with our scaly, noctournal friends

From March 2017, the project moved to another next stage: looking for living Chinese pangolins, their spoor and dens. Bryn, our Research Mananger and Dung, our Senior Field Researcher travelled back and forth between Na Hang and Pu Mat reserve’s forests.

Once completed the team will be able to identify the strongholds of Chinese pangolin and understand the conservation status of Chinese pangolins in Vietnam, which leads to further actions to save this species.

Update on our Chinese Pangolin research

Interview local people

For the last six months, our research team has been carrying a very interesting quest: Looking for the trace of Chinese Pangolins in Vietnam.

First we started with four provinces around Ninh Binh – where we are based. With 200 interviews conducted, our research team is currently interviewing locals with expert knowledge of the forest and rangers to gather recent records of the presence of Chinese Pangolins in these locations.

From December 2016 to January 2017, Mai Anh, our Field Research Officer, travelled to Central Vietnam to look for evidence of the Chinese pangolin among communities around Song Tranh and Sao La Nature Reserves. She interviewed many hunters and people with knowledge of the local forests, all belonging to the ethnic minorities if the Central region, including Co Tu, Ve, Ta Oi and Pa Co communities.

She has found approximately 80% of interviewees believe that they have recently seen two species in the surrounding areas and they have positively identified the Chinese pangolin as being one of them. There is also solid evidence that they are actively being hunted and used for consumption and that being close to the border with Lao, individuals will also cross over to hunt in the forests there. Another issue is the closeness of the Ho Chi Minh Highway, the primary North-South road of the country, to Sao La Nature Reserve, making monitoring hunter access extremely difficult for park authorities.

However, she has also found many communities to be very open with her and friendly, honestly sharing with her their needs, which is encouraging for future research activities, not only in finding the Chinese pangolin, but in community outreach too.

Mai Anh interviewed a total of 160 hunters and people with expert knowledge of the focal subject interviewed during the study. Of those, 91% were hunters who had seen the Chinese pangolin before. The study has revealed greater local knowledge about the species in particular areas, specifically a greater knowledge of Manis pentadactyla and its continued, though declining presence in Sao La – Hue Natural Reserve, Song Thanh Natural Reserve– Quang Nam and Pu Mat National Park in Nghe An.

From March 2017, the project moved to another next stage: looking for living Chinese pangolins, their spoor and dens. Bryn, our Research Mananger and Dung, our Senior Field Researcher travelled back and forth between Na Hang and Pu Mat reserve’s forests.

Once completed the team will be able to identify the strongholds of Chinese pangolin and understand the conservation status of Chinese pangolins in Vietnam, which leads to further actions to save this species.

Read more

educationLatest News
24 December, 2018

“Protect The Wildlife We Love”- Nature Exploring Program for 900 elementary students in Hoa Binh province

To cultivate a love for nature and raise awareness of natural environment/wildlife protection in Vietnam,…
Read More
advocacyLatest News
24 December, 2018

Continue discussions about economic development and raising awareness on wildlife protection for more than 250 people in the buffer zone of Pu Mat National Park

A series of workshops on " Discuss about developing economic solutions and raise people’s awareness…
Read More
research
7 January, 2013

The conservation status of small carnivores in the Ke Go – Khe Net Lowlands (2015)

'The conservation status of small carnivores in the Ke Go–Khe Net Lowlands, Central Vietnam' Description:…
Read More