Developing Robust Conversion Parameters for Seized Pangolin Scales

Suzi Eszterhas
Grantee Florida International University Board of Trustees
Type Stopping the Illegal Wildlife Trade
Location Across Africa and Asia
Grant Amount $38,700
Duration 1 year

The year 2019 saw a record number of seizures of pangolin scales, with more than 128 tons intercepted. These large-volume seizures of scales have made headlines, but how many individual pangolins does 128 tons of scales equal? Obtaining a more accurate estimate has long challenged scientists and hampered conservation efforts. Now, through PCF funding, Dr. Matthew Shirley from Florida International University and Dr. Dan Challender from Oxford University will develop a system to determine the number of pangolins victimized from scale seizures through data collection. This knowledge is key to informing judicial proceedings in countries where pangolin scales are found, countries where the pangolins originate, as well as provide an accurate threat assessment for pangolins.