Temminck’s Pangolin Smutsia temminckii

Temminck's Pangolin Smutsia temminckii

Temminck’s Pangolin Smutsia temminckii


Extant (resident): Angola; Botswana; Burundi; Central African Republic; Chad; Ethiopia; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Namibia; Rwanda; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe

Possibly Extant (resident): Congo

Possibly Extinct: Eswatini

The Temminck’s pangolin is a secretive, primarily nocturnal, mammal that is covered in overlapping plate-like scales, which provides protection from predators. When under threat the Temminck’s ground pangolin rolls into a ball with the soft underbelly covered by a muscular tail. The word pangolin comes from the Malay word “pengguling” meaning something that rolls up. Owing to their secretive nature and low densities, little is known about the pangolin. In spite of this the species is widely used for traditional medicine and they face a grave threat from trafficking for their meat and scales.

Species of pangolin are the most trafficked species in the world. Although deforestation is another major threat. The range of the Temminck’s Pangolins are increasingly threatened by shifting agriculture, small-holder farming and agro-industry farming. These farming practices are directly impacting pangolins through habitat loss and alteration, while the increased human presence in these previously undisturbed areas is resulting in increased levels of poaching.

IUCN Red List

Temminck #Pangolins are beautiful creatures #vulnerable due to illegal #poaching and #deforestation for #palmoil #timber #meat in #Africa. They are already #extinct in #Congo. Help them and #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4Wildlife

The Temminck’s pangolin is the only species found in southern Africa and can be easily distinguished from the two noticeably smaller tree-dwelling African species of pangolin by its fossorial as opposed to arboreal lifestyle and regular scale pattern. Unlike the larger giant pangolin it inhabits dry and arid savannah and desert environments.

The Temminck’s pangolin gives birth to a single offspring after a gestation period of approximately 139 days. They often use the burrows of other animals including aardvarks and aardwolves.

Although present in a number of protected areas across their range and protected by law in all range states (though not included as a protected species in all range states), it is inferred that Temminck’s Pangolin numbers are declining due to an increasing demand for their body parts, including scales, for local and international use for medicinal purposes and superstitious value (Coulson 1985, Cunningham and Zondi 1991, Bräutigam et al. 1994, Whiting et al. 2011, Swart 2013, Xu et al. 2016, Baiyewu et al. 2018). Over-exploitation of Temminck’s Pangolin for medicinal use is occurring in South Africa and elsewhere throughout its range, and is increasingly focused on core conservation areas (Cunningham and Zondi 1991, Baiyewu et al. 2018).

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Further Information

IUCN Rating vulnerable

Pietersen, D., Jansen, R. & Connelly, E. 2019. Smutsia temminckii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T12765A123585768. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T12765A123585768.en. Downloaded on 06 June 2021.

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Published by Palm Oil Detectives

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, scientists, conservationists, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail and industrial agriculture sectors and through strong campaigning we can stop them cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join the #Boycott4Wildlife and stand up for the animals with your supermarket choices

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