Local communities perception and distribution of giant pangolins in northwestern Tanzania

Michael Honorati Kimaro

Pangolin is the most trafficked mammal on the earth. Three species of pangolin occur in Tanzania, Temminck’s ground pangolin (Smutsia temminckii), white-bellied pangolins (Phataginus tricuspis), and Giant ground pangolins (Smutsia gigantea). Yet in Tanzania, their population status, local perspectives, and trade-offs for hunting are lacking. In Tanzania, Giant ground pangolin is thought to occur only in particular areas, therefore, this project aims to determine the distribution and occupancy estimates of Giant ground pangolins. Further, this project aims to assess local communities’ perspectives towards pangolins; investigate trade-offs of hunting pangolins and their derivatives, and identify conservation initiatives that may be used to support local community's livelihoods. The project will use advanced semi-structured face-to-face interviews. The outputs of this project include the provision of occupancy of Giant ground pangolins; provision of distribution across different land uses; knowledge and attitude of local people towards pangolins; identify pangolin derivatives and trade-offs of local people involved in hunting or trading pangolins, and work with the community to identify incentives that may help on enhancing human-pangolin coexistence. This project will help to develop a long-term pangolin conservation program.