Published 21 April 2010


Singaporeans tip the scales for pangolins

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 21st April 2010—Singapore’s green groups came to the rescue of pangolins on Sunday, singing, dancing and dining their way towards raising SGD40,000 (USD29,148) for crucial research into some of South-East Asia’s most heavily trafficked mammals.

A private fundraising dinner and exhibition in Singapore raised SGD40,000 to support TRAFFIC Southeast Asia's work on pangolin trade in the region. © Cyril Ng   

Led by Cicada Tree Eco-Place, a non-government organization that promotes Singapore’s natural and cultural heritage through environmental education and eco-living, the groups marshaled resources to hold a private fundraising dinner and exhibition, in aid of pangolins.

The Vertebrate Study Group of the Nature Society (Singapore), Nature's Niche Pte Ltd, and Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), supported Cicada Tree Eco-Place in organizing the event.

The groups were moved to raise awareness of the illegal trade in pangolins and raise funds in aid of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia’s efforts to protect them. It follows a symposium on trade and conservation of pangolins native to South and South-East Asia hosted by Wildlife Reserves Singapore at the Singapore Zoo in 2008. The subsequent publication of proceedings from the workshop drew worldwide attention to the plight of the region’s pangolins.

Pangolins are some of the most commonly trafficked species in the region, but excessive illegal trade is rapidly pushing them towards extinction and needs to be addressed urgently if pangolins are to survive. 

Contributions from the dinner will be used to fund dedicated research on pangolin populations and trade surveys throughout South-East Asia. The information gathered will serve as a basis for advice to enforcement agencies and international bodies worldwide about the illegal pangolin trade.

The funds will also enable TRAFFIC to conduct training, education and awareness raising activities, including producing pangolin-related printed material and audio-visual communication aids.

“Raising funds for the conservation of less-charismatic species is always a challenge,” said Chris R. Shepherd, Senior Programme Officer with TRAFFIC. 

Shepherd, who delivered a talk on the illegal pangolin trade at the dinner, said many species of lesser-known animals like the pangolin were being pushed towards extinction largely unnoticed.  

“The efforts of Cicada Tree Eco-Place and other supporters at this event are greatly appreciated.”

Teresa Teo Guttensohn, co-founder of Cicada Tree Eco-Place said although the Sunda Pangolin Manis javanica was part of the precious biodiversity of Singapore and South-East Asia, most Singaporeans were not aware of its existence and more outreach had to be done locally.  

“All of us at Cicada Tree Eco-Place felt the urgency to help stem the tragic illegal trade, and raising funds for a dedicated pangolin researcher will make a difference for pangolins. 

“We are deeply thankful for the generosity of all our supporters and donors at the Pangolin Fund Raising Dinner, which turned out to be quite a party for greenies, conservationists, environmentalists and wildlife and pangolin lovers.”

The private fundraising dinner featured an exhibition on nature, conservation and wildlife, as well as performances by School of the Arts Singapore students.

Guests were also entertained by poetry readings, celebrity singers, DJs and even belly dancers, while additional funds were raised in a raffle draw.

A booklet outlining the plight of pangolins was also made available for the event, and can be downloaded as a PDF.