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Ethnozoological Survey of Traditional Uses of Temminck’s Ground Pangolin (Smutsia temminckii) in South Africa

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 Department of Environmental, Water and Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology
  • | 2 National Zoological Garden, South African National Biodiversity InstituteGenetics Department, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of the Free StateAfrican Pangolin Working GroupIUCN Species Survival Commission Pangolin Specialist Group
  • | 3 Research and Scientific Services Department, National Zoological Gardens of South AfricaGenetics Department, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of the Free State
  • | 4 Department of Environmental, Water and Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of TechnologyAfrican Pangolin Working Group
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Abstract

Pangolins are elusive and threatened mammals, considered the most widely traded mammals on Earth supplying local African and Asian traditional medicine markets. African pangolins are sourced as bushmeat and perceived to cure diverse ailments when body parts are used in traditional medicine practices. Currently, there is no documentation on cultural uses of Temminck’s ground pangolin throughout this mammal’s distribution range in South Africa. We interviewed 344 community members from seven indigenous tribal communities in four provinces overlapping with the distribution of Smutsia temminckii in South Africa; only 191 respondents (55.5%) had any knowledge of the species, its cultural and/or medicinal uses. Pangolin is highly sought after and held in high regard where this mammal’s body parts, particularly scales, blood and fat, are utilized traditionally for treating various physical ailments and spiritual remedies in rural South African communities. This utilization undoubtedly has a significant impact on the population of this threatened species.

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