CITES Appendix I Listing Proposed for All Eight Pangolin Species

The United States is co-sponsoring the pangolin uplisting proposals along with five key pangolin range countries. Photo © Tikki Hywood Trust
The United States is co-sponsoring the pangolin uplisting proposals along with five key pangolin range countries. Photo © & credit: Cedric Jacquet / Tikki Hywood Trust

Pangolins are now one step closer to receiving the maximum protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) with a total of four proposals covering the transfer of all eight pangolin species from Appendix II to Appendix I.

The United States is co-sponsoring the pangolin proposals along with five key pangolin range countries. Parties to CITES will vote on the proposals at COP17 in South Africa, which will take place from September 24 to October 5, 2016 .

  • India: co-sponsoring and submitting the Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) proposal;
  • The Philippines: co-sponsoring and submitting the Philippine pangolin (Manis culionensis) proposal;
  • Viet Nam: co-sponsoring and submitting Sunda pangolin (Manis javanica) and Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla) proposals;
  • Nigeria and Senegal: co-sponsoring and submitting the four African species of pangolin – Black-bellied pangolin (Manis tetradactyla), white-bellied pangolin(Manis tricuspis), giant pangolin (Manis gigantea) and ground pangolin (Manis temminckii) proposals.

Pangolins are at risk of extinction due to demand for their scales and meat. The main culprit is China, a country which has eaten its own pangolins into oblivion. In Viet Nam, pangolins are eaten as a luxury food. Trade in pangolins needs to be stopped and an important step is to close loopholes with the Appendix I listing. We must also work to root out corruption and back up wildlife crime laws with strong enforcement.

The four Asian pangolin species (Chinese, Indian, Philippine and Sunda) currently have a zero export quota for wild-caught specimens, but this has left the door open for traffickers to use the captive-bred / ranched specimen loophole.

African pangolins (black-bellied, white-bellied, giant and ground) have not fared well under the implementation of CITES Appendix II either. For example, Uganda approved the export 7.7 tons of pangolin scales by a notorious wildlife trader. Meanwhile in Togo, dozens of live pangolins have recently been collected and exported to the United States (most of the pangolins have reportedly perished due to poor husbandry).

Annamiticus fully supports the proposals to transfer all eight pangolin species to Appendix I and is pleased to have been part of the consensus-building process. We have been educating the public and the media abut the pangolin crisis since 2012. We continue to work tirelessly every day with our colleagues and partners around the world to ensure a safe future for pangolins.

Help fight against wildlife trafficking: Support our work to advocate for the protection of endangered species at the upcoming CITES CoP17 in South Africa.



Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, and I work as an independent Wildlife Trade and Communication Design Consultant. I have journeyed to the streets of Hanoi to research the illegal wildlife trade, and to the rainforests of Sumatra and Java to document the world’s rarest rhinos. I am a Co-Chair of the SSN Pangolin Working Group. At CITES meetings, I collaborate with colleagues from around the world to lobby in favor of protecting endangered species. I am a Wildlife Trade and Trafficking Consultant for the upcoming documentary The Price, the host of Behind the Schemes and author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine. I enjoy desert gardening, herping, reading, designing, and walking with my dogs.