Large-scale pangolin trafficking is mainly driven by the use of pangolin scales in Chinese traditional medicine and their meat is considered a delicacy in China and Vietnam. In Africa, the pangolins are also used in traditional African bush medicine, and in Central and West Africa, they are predominantly used as source of food.
The recent decline of the Asian pangolin species has resulted in the African species to be increasingly targeted.
In the Dzanga Sangha region, we have no clear numbers of the amount of pangolin being trafficked, and currently we believe that pangolins are still predominantly hunted for bushmeat. However, reports of pangolin traffic from neighbouring countries are increasing tremendously.
Through our awareness campaign in the local communities, we strive to effectively communicate why pangolins are under threat, why they are important, and most importantly, why they must be protected. Pangolins play a crucial role in the maintenance of the ecosystem - they feed on termites and ants and thus keep their population in a natural balance. The decline of pangolin population could potentially have disastrous consequences for the forest.
The awareness campaign takes place in schools or churches, in accordance with local heads of the village (Chef du village). Together with our Ba’aka trackers, a presentation about the pangolins and their plight is given with an interactive Q&A session to better understand the drivers of pangolin poaching and trafficking.
Radio Ndjoku (= Radio éléphant), is the community radio based in Bayanga, and since its launch in 2015 is reaching a wide audience and interest in the local communities. It has become a platform for information exchange, local reports and news, music airing and interviews.
The pangolin crisis and the pangolin project has been featured already 3 times during the evening prime time, including interviews about the project itself including with our project manager and one of our volunteers Julie, as well as some of our trackers. There were also talks with villagers of Bayanga, Yandoumbe and Mossapoula about their opinions on pangolin conservation.
They told us that they were listening to our ‘pangolin show’ on Radio Ndjoku and remembered some messages and information we gave there.
Our aim is to continue with a monthly radio show featuring more interviews, stories, and information about pangolins in order to con the sensibilisation ongoing in the area.