2018 African Graduate Student Research Fund Award - Brou Guy-Mathieu Assovi

Brou Guy-Mathieu Assovi is a Ph.D. student at Felix Houphouët-Boigny University (Cote d’Ivoire) studying pangolins in and around the largest forested national park (Tai) in Cote d’Ivoire and its only recognized community conservation area. All three pangolin species known to occur in the area are exploited for bushmeat, yet little is known about their ecology, making it difficult to prioritize areas and habitats for conservation. Brou’s research is focused on the Black-bellied Pangolin (Phataginus tetradactyla)—the least-studied of Africa’s pangolins—as well as the Giant Pangolin (Smutsia gigantea), but he will also collect data on the White-bellied Pangolin (P. tricuspis). Brou will use his award to purchase telemetry equipment and pay local field assistants in his effort to capture and radiotrack up to 30 pangolins. He and his team will collect data on habitat, movement, behavior, and prey selection, while also investigating local community use of pangolins as an important source of protein. Collectively, these critical baseline data will form the basis of a national pangolin management action plan and will be a platform to raise awareness about the need to protect pangolins throughout West Africa.