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Insights into the status and distribution of pangolins in Togo (West Africa)

Segniagbeto, GH and Assou, D and Agbessi, EKG and Atsri, HK and D’Cruze, N and Auliya, M and Fa, John and Luiselli, L (2020) Insights into the status and distribution of pangolins in Togo (West Africa). African Journal of Ecology. ISSN 0141-6707 (In Press)

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Abstract

Pangolins are considered among the most threatened mammal species, both globally and also in Africa. However almost nothing is known on their status and distribution across wide areas of their range, including Togo (West Africa). We assessed the status and distribution of pangolin species in Togo. Fieldwork was undertaken in five localities around the Fazao Malfakassa National Park, five sites around Togodo Protected Areas Complex (Togodo North and Togodo South National Parks), “Les Deux Béna” and Missahohe Forest Reserves, Yikpa-Dzigbe, Evou and Afagnan Community Forests. In all of these protected areas and forest islands, only one pangolin species was recorded: the white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis), with no records of the giant ground pangolin (Smutsia gigantea), a species that now appears unlikely for Togo. Due to the pangolin’s nocturnal behavior spotlighting was carried out as an index of relative abundance and calculated as the Kilometric Index of Abundance (KIA). Our results indicate that P. tricuspis is relatively abundant in suitable habitats in Fazao-Malfakassa National Park, in Togodo North National Park and in the Assoukoko Forest Reserve. These habitats mainly reflect dense remnant forest patches where numerous termite mounds and ant nests occur. The present study provides significant scientific information on the status of pangolins in Togo that can help inform the development of a conservation programme for this species in Togo.

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