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sunda pangolins

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.

This year Sabah celebrated World Pangolin Day in style on 11th March 2023 at Lok Kawi Wildlife Park near Kota Kinabalu, in an event jointly organized by Sabah Wildlife Department, Danau Girang Field Centre and LEAP with support from the Wildlife Rescue Unit and others.


Over 200 people visited the informative displays and took part in activities like guessing the number of scales on a giant pangolin statue, making pangolin pledges, assembling a pangolin jigsaw puzzle and upscaling of used materials to create new handicrafts.


Groups of students from Institut Pendidikan Guru (IPG) Kampus Gaya, Cosmopoint College and University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF) also took part in a ‘sembang santai’ or casual chat session hosted by local celebrity Amy Dangin which featured an interactive dialogue with pangolin experts from Sabah Wildlife Department and Danau Girang Field Centre, a quiz and lots of laughter!


Feedback from participants of the ‘sembang santai’ showed that learning more information on pangolins was important to the students and the relaxed informal session with Amy Dangin was greatly enjoyed. After the event many students said they would spread awareness and share information about pangolins with their families and on social media, and they would report to the authorities if they come across pangolin meat being sold or find an injured pangolin.


We hope events such as this can inspire greater awareness of and support for pangolins and their conservation and we will continue our efforts to protect pangolins and their habitats!

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Students from UCSF enjoying the event

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Amy Dangin in the ‘sembang santai’

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Amy and students having fun

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Upscaling with Japson Wong – creating beautiful insects from used materials

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Pangolin pledge tree

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Informal dialogue in the ‘sembang santai’ with Nurain Acheh and Dr Nabila Sarkawi from Sabah Wildlife Department and Elisa Panjang from Danau Girang Field Centre

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Not as easy as it looks… putting together the pangolin jigsaws!

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Making a promise… writing pledges to put on the pledge tree

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Never too old to enjoy colouring!

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Pangolin display by Danau Girang Field Centre


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