Phataginus tricuspis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Phataginus tricuspis
Species Authority: (Rafinesque, 1821)
Common Name(s):
English White-bellied Pangolin, African White-bellied Pangolin, Tree Pangolin, Three-cusped Pangolin
French Pangolin À Écailles Tricuspides, Pangolin Commun, Tricuspide
Manis tricuspis (Rafinesque, 1821)
Taxonomic Notes: Included in Manis by many authors (with Phataginus sometimes considered a subgenus), but here treated in its own genus following Heath and Kingdon (in press) (and see Patterson [1978] and Grubb et al. [1998], who included all African pangolins in this genus).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Hoffmann, M.
Reviewer(s): Hoffmann, M. & Stuart, S.N. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Listed as Near Threatened because it seems reasonable to assume that this species has undergone a decline in the region of 20-25% over the past 15 years (three generations) due mainly to the impact of bushmeat hunting. Given that this species continues to be harvested at unsustainable levels in parts of its range, it could very quickly move to a higher category of threat. Almost qualifies as threatened under criterion A2cd.
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (Baillie and Groombridge 1996)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species ranges from Guinea in West Africa through Sierra Leone and much of West Africa to Central Africa as far east as southwestern Kenya and north-western Tanzania and as far south (west of Lake Tanganyika) as north-western Zambia and northern Angola; also on Bioko (Kingdon and Hoffmann in press). There are no confirmed records from Senegal, The Gambia or Guinea-Bissau (Grubb et al. 1998).
Angola (Angola); Benin; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Congo; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Côte d'Ivoire; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Ghana; Kenya; Liberia; Nigeria; Rwanda; Sierra Leone; South Sudan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Togo; Uganda; Zambia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This is the most common of the African forest pangolins, reaching relatively high densities in suitable habitat (Kingdon and Hoffmann in press).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This largely nocturnal and semi-arboreal species is found in lowland tropical moist forest (primary and secondary), and savanna/forest mosaics; also favours cultivation and fallow land where not hunted (Kingdon and Hoffmann in press). Sodeinde and Adedipe (1994) noted that Tree Pangolins were often reported caught on abandoned or little-used oil palm trees in secondary growth. This suggests that the species can adapt to at least some degree of habitat modification. It feeds on ants, termites and other invertebrates. The gestation period is about 150 days, after which the females give birth to a single young, which are carried by the female (Kingdon and Hoffmann in press).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Tree Pangolins are subject to widespread and often intensive exploitation for bushmeat and traditional medicine, and are by far the most common of the pangolins found in African bushmeat markets. For example, during the course of six months fieldwork in Cameroon in 2002-2003, this species was the fourth most harvested species across 47 sites sampled, after the Brush-tailed Porcupine Atherurus africanus, Blue Duiker Philantomba monticola and Giant Pouched Rat Cricetomys emini (Fa et al. 2006). Tree Pangolins are commonly recorded in international trade: according to CITES trade reports, during the period 1996 to 2005, 30 live animals were exported from Togo in 1996 and 16 in 2002, and five each in two successive years (1999 and 2000) from Cameroon (Kingdon and Hoffmann in press).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is present in a number of protected areas. While it is listed on Appendix II of CITES, there is a need to develop and enforce protective legislation in many range states.

Citation: Hoffmann, M. 2008. Phataginus tricuspis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.1. <>. Downloaded on 22 July 2014.
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