Stakeholder Preferences for Pangolin Conservation Interventions in Southeast Nigeria

Published: 11 April 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/2rrshpdsn8.1
, Aiora Zabala, Patience Adaje, Douglas Clark, Kristian Steensen Nielsen, Rachel Carmenta


We used Q-methodology to provide evidence to inform interventions for pangolin conservation in southeast Nigeria. We sampled stakeholder groups associated with pangolin use and conservation, including hunters, wild meat traders, and Nigeria Customs Service employees, to elicit their opinion and knowledge on the use and perceptions of pangolins and their preferences for interventions to reduce pangolin decline. We found that the local consumption of pangolin meat as food is the primary driver of poaching in the region. This contradicts popular opinions that pangolins are specifically targeted for international trade, revealing an opportunity for site-level behaviour change interventions. The different stakeholder groups identified awareness-raising campaigns, law enforcement, community stewardship programs, and ecotourism as preferred interventions, whose effectiveness we attempted to assess using reported case studies. We observed different perspectives between people associated with pangolin use and exploitation (predominantly those living around pangolin habitats, including hunters and wild meat traders) and those working to protect them (such as conservation organisations and Nigeria Customs Service employees). For example, the first group supported community stewardship programs, and the latter preferred awareness-raising and law enforcement efforts. This divergence in perspectives underpins the need for a combination of targeted interventions at the site level to engage different stakeholders while highlighting the potential challenges to collaborative decision-making for species threatened by illegal wildlife trade. Policy implications: Our results stress the importance of targeted and context-specific conservation interventions.



University of Cambridge


Conservation Biology


Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


British High Commission in Nigeria

INT 2021/NIA C19 01

Wildlife Conservation Network

Wildlife Conservation Society