Habitat preference and current distribution of Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla L. 1758) in Dorokha Dungkhag, Samtse, southern Bhutan

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Dago Dorji
Ju Lian Chong
Tshering Dorji


The Chinese Pangolin (CP), Manis pentadactyla L. is one of the two pangolin species recorded in Bhutan.  Not many studies, however, were carried out on the species in Bhutan.  The present study was carried out to assess the habitat preference and current distribution of CP, Manis pentadactyla in Dorokha Dungkhag, Samtse from January to March 2017.  Belt transect method consisting of 100 x 100 m each was used to assess the habitat preference and estimate burrow density, coupled with an extensive search of indirect signs of pangolin presence (burrows, scat, footprint, scales, scratches) was utilized to determine the current distribution of the CP.  Modelling of habitat was carried out using QGIS and Maxent.  A total of 181 burrows were recorded from 48 plots with burrow density of 0.104 per hectare.  These were mostly distributed in the habitat dominated by needlework trees (Schima wallichii), evergreen broadleaf (Castanopsis hytrix) and shrubs (Viburnum species).  The preferred habitat of the CP was recorded to range from an altitude of 1,300–1,700 m, with highest feeding activities recorded within the periphery of cardamom plantation and adjacent forested area.  A higher burrow density was recorded in humid soils, with high termite presence, and in the vicinity of human settlements.  Habitat modelling revealed that 23.57km2 of the study area was highly suitable and 37.88km2 was a suitable habitat for the species.  Similar studies are suggested to be carried out in other parts of Bhutan in different seasons to better understand the species and its distribution in the country. 

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Author Biographies

Dago Dorji, Sarpang Forest Division, Department of Forest and Park Services, 31101 Sarpang, Bhutan.

i am working as Senior Forest Ranger at Geelphu Range under Sarpang Forest Division since 2019. Prior to my transfer to this Division, i  worked as a Focal in Geography Information system (GIS) in Research and INformation Unit under Samtse Forest Division. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Forestry from the College of Natural Resources, Bhutan, in June 2017.


Jambay, Faculty of Forest Sciences, College of Natural Resources, Royal University of Bhutan, Lobesa, 13001 Punakha, Bhutan.

Associate Lecturer

Forest Department 

Ju Lian Chong, Faculty of Science and Marine Environment & Institute of Tropical Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, University Malaysia, Terengganu, 21030 Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, Malaysia.


Faculty of Science and Marine Environment

Tshering Dorji, Thimphu Forest Division, Department of Forest and Park Services, 11001 Thimphu, Bhutan.

Tshering Dorji works under Thimphu Forest Division under Department of Forest and Park Services. He is currently the Head of Social Forestry and Extension Section and manages Samazingha Agroforestry Project. His main job responsibilities include developing community forest management plans, monitor plantation programs, etc.

Funding data


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