Manis javinicus the Malayan pangolin is an endangered species.

Humans are the main threat to the pangolin by hunting them for meat and body parts and destroying their natural habitat. Many of the individuals traded are females, foetuses or young therefore severely impacting population regeneration. Pangolins do not usually survive well in captivity and are therefore not suitable for farming.

There is no sign of decreasing pressure on the pangolin populations.In 2009, as in previous years, there were significant hauls of illegal shipments. The demand and scale of trade is still increasing.


From humans 

Trade, medicine, ritual

Trade in pangolins (live and dead) is on an international scale.

  •  The meat is eaten by local people and traded as a delicacy.
  • Powdered scales and other body parts are believed to be medicinal and are also used as an aphrodisiac. Whole scales are used to scratch the skin
  • Pangolin hides are used in the manufacture of leather goods, especially footwear.
  • Pangolins are also used in local folk-law rituals.


  • Habitat destruction
  • Fragmentation of habitat
  • Alteration of habitat. For example, deaths on roads, poisoning from pesticide use on agricultural land
Natural predators
  • Pythons
  • Tigers
  • Leopards

Economic imporatance

Pangolins have a very important role in economic terms as a natural pest controller of termites and ants.

Conservation status:

  • IUCN lists this species as ‘Endangered’  (IUCN, 2009)
  • Population trend is decreasing (IUCN, 2009)
  • CITES Appendix II (CITES 2009)

TRAFFIC - the wildlife trade monitoring network

"pangolins are the most frequently encountered mammals seized from illegal traders in Asia. Recent hauls include 24 tons of frozen pangolins from Sumatra, Indonesia, seized in Viet Nam this March and 14 tons of frozen animals seized in Sumatra this April" ("

Economic importance

Dr Simon Stuart, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission.

“Pangolins save us millions of dollars a year in pest destruction. These shy creatures provide a vital service and we cannot afford to overlook their ecological role as natural controllers of termites and ants” (