Many people don’t know, but the Pangolin is the most illegally trafficked animal on the planet. They are poached mostly for their scales, as they are falsely believed to cure many ailments, as well as being sold into the bush meat trade.
We are very fortunate that our hometown and office is surrounded by wildlife areas, as well as many amazing people dedicating their lives to saving these beautiful animals.
Pangolin poaching is one of the most barbaric and horrific types of poaching, with the animals often being tied up in wire and kept in backpacks for weeks until a potential buyer can be found. Some animals suffocate in their own faeces being bound, and many are starved for too long to ever rehabilitate when finally rescued.
Until recently, there was no real veterinary protocols for rehabilitating pangolins, and it has taken many years for our local vet teams to find out the best methods of getting these animals back on their feet. Unfortunately, pangolins don’t feed in captivity, so getting them to regain weight is a difficult task involving walking them for many hours at night so they can feed themselves, as well as supplemental daily tube feeding.
Here at Panthera Photo Safaris, not only do we donate to the vet teams, but also to the rehabilitation centres where the animals go to when healthy enough to not be tube fed, but not strong enough to be in the wild.
The rehabilitation facility is committed to maintaining high standards of animal care through knowledge and understanding of each individual animal. We have established strong relationships with other wildlife rehabilitation experts in the field, and engage with them on an ongoing basis, to share knowledge and discuss best practice, and treatment plans. We also collect data during rehabilitation and release to contribute towards further scientific research on pangolins.
On average a Pangolin in rehabilitation cost R1,500 per day. In bad cases, some animals can take up to 6 months before they are fit and healthy enough to be released back into the wild. Running costs include veterinary consultations, medicine, equipment, DNA testing, transport, and staff to monitor, feed and walk the pangolins.
Please note that for security reasons all pangolins in our care are kept off-site at night. We also never disclose the date and exact location of our pangolin releases.