Pangolin rescued from captors returns to the wild

The DSWF funded GRI Wildlife Veterinary Project worked alongside the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Zambia to help rescue a pangolin that had been taken from the wild yesterday (23 May). The young male was given a health check, food and drink and lots of walks in the bush ahead of his return to the wild.

Unlike many of the pangolins recovered from poachers – which are stored in plastic bags and crates and often found in terrible conditions – this one was incredibly strong and active.

At 1.20pm today (May 24) the team chose a beautiful spot in the Lower Zambezi National Park, near a stream and surrounded by plenty of bush to provide him with cover, for his release.

“He didn’t appear thirsty once we’d put him down but instead of heading into the bush he decided to go for a swim!” reports Annekim Geerdes, Project Manager at GRI’s Wildlife Veterinary Project in Zambia. “I can confirm that pangolins are excellent swimmers but, because as I was steadying myself for a watery rescue, I didn’t catch it on camera!”

After a few minutes the pangolin got out of the water and disappeared into the bush.

“We’d been watching from the shade of a tree and, when our scout looked up there, right above our heads, was a leopard chilling on a branch, watching over our work. I was quite an eventful day!”

To find out more about the plight of the pangolin – now the world’s most trafficked mammal – and how DSWF funding helps protect the species in Zambia and Uganda – click here

Annekim with the team ahead of release and (above) one healthy pangolin returns to the wild – Images courtesy of GRI / DNPW