Nigeria: Traditional-Medical Knowledge And Perception Of Pangolins (Manis sps) Among The Awori People, Southwestern Nigeria

Durojaye A Soewu, and Temilolu A Adekanola, 2011


Background: Animals have been used as medicinal resources throughout human history. Majority of wildlife used in traditional medicines is taken from the wild; hence demand by traditional medicine is a cause of over-exploitation of wild animals. Indiscriminate use of endangered species portends grievous implications for biodiversity conservation. This study investigated the dynamics of the use of pangolin in trado-medicinal preparations amongst the Awori people.


Methods: Forty traditional Yorubic-medical practitioners (tymps) selected through stratified random-sampling technique were interviewed using open-ended questionnaires. Various aspects of the utilisation of pangolin in traditional medicinal practices were investigated. Data collected were analysed using simple frequencies and percentages.


Results: An average of 1.6 pangolins were utilised per tymp per month. About 43% of respondents contracted hunters for deliberate searches for the animals. More than 92% believed that pangolins' abundance is steadily decreasing. Above 97% reported a continuous decline in the size of pangolin. Pangolin was used in treating 47 conditions. Situations accommodated included those that can be treated by orthodox medicine like rheumatism and venereal diseases as well as some that are out of range for orthodox medicine including kleptomania and good luck charms. Some substitute animals like gorilla are under a greater conservation threat than pangolin.


Conclusions: Utilisation of pangolin in traditional medicine has no consideration for sustainability. Awareness should be created on people as regards the implications of unsustainable depletion of medicinal resources. Efforts should be intensified on ex-situ breeding of pangolin while subjecting the scales and other parts to laboratory studies to determine the bioactive constituents.


Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine External link; DOI: 10.1186/1746-4269-7-25

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