CZS & The Pangolin Consortium

The Pangolin Consortium is a partnership of seven institutions, including Chicago Zoological Society and Brookfield Zoo, who are committed to supporting pangolin conservation efforts around the world.


What Are Pangolins?
Often referred to as scaly anteaters, pangolins are small predominantly nocturnal mammals covered in scales made of keratin, the same material of which human fingernails are made. The name pangolin comes from the Malay word “penggulung,” meaning "one who rolls up,” as they curl up into a ball when threatened, the overlapping scales acting as defensive armor. Today, all eight species of pangolin – four native to Asia and four to Africa – face extinction.

Pangolins are the world’s most hunted and illegally trafficked mammal. More than a million wild pangolins have been killed in the last decade as interest grows for their meat and scales. They have also been used for jewelry and medicinal purposes. It is predicted that an average of 20 tons of scales a year are being smuggled into China and other Asian countries. Pangolin products can still be found for sale in the US, including Illinois.


Pangolin Consortium Efforts & Activities
· Collaborative development of an ex-situ (away from natural habitat) sustainable pangolin breeding program in North America based on the existing and continued development of best practices in husbandry, nutrition, behavioral enrichment, welfare, preventative healthcare, and treatment.
· Collaborative development of research on and for the continued advancement of the care and welfare of tree pangolins under professional care in the areas of ecology, husbandry, reproductive biology, behavioral enrichment, nutrition, health, and exhibition.
· Collaborative development of educational and interpretive messaging in North America relative to the species and threats to the survival of pangolins in general. Collaborative development of capacity building and research in support of African pangolins, consisting of, but not limited to life history, reproductive physiology, disease, habitat use, requirements, and protection.
· Collaborative efforts with governments of range countries, local universities in training of field biologists and research techniques, assistance with development and production of interpretive messaging for the general population and in secondary school systems, and development of awareness programs supporting pangolin protection.


How Is CZS Involved?
CZS is the primary lead in the Consortium's efforts. CZS and Brookfield Zoo has the greatest capability and resources to direct towards the Consortium's efforts. Bill Zeigler, Sr. Vice President of Animal Programs, developed the concept, wrote the initial Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), and organized the Consortium in its initial form. The CZS staff has been a leader in nutritional, husbandry, and veterinary health research efforts. CZS also house the funds collected from the member institutions that support the Consortium grants program.

Consortium Grants
The Consortium’s primary interest is in supporting conservation programs of African species. However, in the Consortium’s effort to support worldwide conservation of pangolins, grant applications pertaining to Asian species are given due consideration as well.

CZS administers the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) Endangered Species Fund, which supports projects that focus on conservation and research of specific threatened, vulnerable or endangered species or a specific habitat that is of high biological value or that is substantially threatened (IUCN Red List). This includes projects that will quantitatively assess population and environmental status with indications of best conservation strategy and projects that will help achieve sustainable relations between local people and the species of concern. The development of educational projects and training that assist in building local conservation capacity are given higher priority.


International Pangolin Symposium
The Pangolin Consortium held the first International Symposium on Pangolin Care and Conservation in Chicago, Illinois August 22 – 25, 2018. Experts in Asian and African pangolin species convened to explore the value of integrative research to conserve pangolins and was hosted by the Chicago Zoological Society at the Brookfield Zoo.

The symposium was open to pangolin researchers, conservationists, rehabilitators and animal care specialists to discuss the latest scientific findings, conservation efforts, and pangolin care lessons. Future symposiums are currently planned.


How  You Can Help
Right now, the Illinois General Assembly is considering Bill HB4787, which would create the Pangolin Protection Act. It would prohibit the possession, sale, trade, and distribution of pangolin products. It would also establish an exemption for organizations such as CZS who are engaged in pangolin research or conservation. Write to your elected officials about the importance of saving this endangered species. Encourage your respective state legislators to support the bill by signing on to be a co-sponsor of the proposed legislation. You can also sign a petition to save the pangolin. The petition signatures will be presented to the sponsors of HB4787 to demonstrate public support for pangolin conservation.

World Pangolin Day
World Pangolin Day, held on February 15, 2020, is an opportunity for pangolin supporters to join together in raising awareness about these unique mammals — and their plight. Some of the activities you can do to support pangolins include:
· Visit Habitat Africa: The Forest at Brookfield Zoo on February 15 to engage with animal care specialists in pangolin chats to learn more about these animals and how you can help them. You'll also get to make pinecone pangolins, which you share on social media and with friends. You can pick up an exclusive pangolin sticker by participating.
· Share information and insights on social media using the hashtags #PangolinProtector and #WorldPangolinDay to raise awareness.
· Make your voice heard by signing the petition to save the pangolin and write to your elected officials about the importance of saving this endangered species.


Brookfield Zoo has developed many tools to assist educators in sharing information about animals, science, and caring - the things that form the basis of conservation at the zoo and in the wild. We encourage educators to use the information gathered by the zoo to share concepts about data gathering and scientific research, and to use the zoo's charismatic animals to help inspire excitement for learning. Be informed, entertained, and engaged by special classes just for teachers. Plus you can earn PDCHs and optional graduate credit through Dominican University.



The Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) is a conservation-focused, inquiry-driven learning experience that combines web-based graduate courses through Miami University with exciting face-to-face experiential and field study at Brookfield Zoo. Students in this national degree program contribute to social and ecological change in their communities. The opportunity to earn credits from international travel is another exciting part of the program. And the best news of all – it’s affordable!