LEAP has long been concerned about the loss of Sabah’s biodiversity and has supported initiatives to conserve threatened and endangered species such as the Critically Endangered Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica).
In 2014 LEAP helped initiate the Pangolin Conservation Working Group comprising NGOs and relevant government departments and in September 2017 the Sunda Pangolin was upgraded to a Totally Protected species under Schedule 1 of the Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment 1997.
LEAP has also supported the work of local pangolin researcher Elisa Panjang (see here) through input into the design and distribution of pangolin conservation awareness materials such as posters and the sharing of news articles in the press. And to help promote World Pangolin Day on 15th February 2020, LEAP worked with Elisa to highlight the plight of pangolins during its "Ketamu 4 Pangolins" event, a market showcasing local sustainable products and initiatives. Elisa and Sabah Wildlife Department carried out educational activities with local students and engaged with the public through a stall with pangolin information and awareness materials.
Over recent years dialogues with stakeholders have revealed a need for enhanced veterinary and husbandry practices for confiscated and rescued pangolins including establishing a permanent centre for Sunda Pangolins in Sabah, and increased research and conservation as well as fundraising, education and awareness and enforcement.
Together with Elisa Panjang, and working closely with Sabah wildlife Department, LEAP is also embarking on a new project called the ‘Pangolin Rescue, Rehabilitation & Release (3R) Programme’ which aims to gather expertise and agree protocols for Pangolin Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release manuals/Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs); establish capacity to actually implement rescue, rehabilitation and release of pangolins at facilities in Sabah through the acquisition of equipment and training of staff ; and build public support for pangolin conservation through continued advocacy and outreach.
While awareness may be slowly increasing about the plight of the pangolin, this is matched by a seemingly undiminished demand for pangolin meat and scales, both domestically and internationally, and with the emergence of zoonotic diseases such as COVID -19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the need to stop wildlife trade has never been greater.
LEAP will continue working with relevant stakeholders, including local communities, to secure a future for this wonderful but threatened mammal and its habitats.
On Saturday 23rd September LEAP joined forces with local pangolin expert Elisa Panjang and staff from Lok Kawi Wildlife Park and Borneo Behaviour Solutions in an event called Makers and Mavems Wildlife Learning Adventure, held at bustling Riverson in Kota Kinabalu.
Organised in conjunction with Lok Kawi Wildlife Park Outreach and Education programme, kindergarten children and their parents were treated to a day of fun and learning about pangolins through activities like a sharing conservation talk by Elisa, a quiz, colouring sessions and puzzles. Children and parents alike enjoyed themselves finding out more about our scaly friends and how we can all help in pangolin conservation.
Elisa sharing about our precious pangolins to an attentive audience.
Enjoying the quiz with Elisa!
Some serious colouring going on!
Puan Maryati from Lok Kawi Wildlife Park with a happy winner of the colouring activity.
A giant pangolin puzzle which challenged adults and children alike!
Posters and information about pangolins and their conservation also attracted the public who were enjoying a day out at Riverson.