Second pangolin rescue in a week

The DSWF funded Wildlife Veterinary Project in Zambia has been kept busy this week with a second pangolin rescue.

A male and female were rescued and collected by the vet team from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) on Tuesday May 30. The male weighed in at a healthy 14kg but the smaller female was very weak when handed over. Although treated with fluids she sadly did not survive the night.

Commenting on the loss Annekim Geerdes, project manager for GRI’s Wildlife Veterinary Project in Zambia said: “Sadly the female passed away during the night but at least she was warm, comfortable and pain free.”

There was a happier end for the male pangolin who was taken by boat for release in the Lower Zambezi National Park where he was returned to the wild on May 31.

More about pangolins
The four species of Asian pangolin have been critically endangered for some time and, with supply running out, traffickers have turned to the four species of African pangolin to make their money. At the Conference of Parties to CITES (the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna) in 2016 only Indonesia objected to giving these vulnerable creatures the protection they need and after a relatively short debate both African and Asian pangolin were placed onto Appendix I, affording them the highest level of protection under international law.

This week also saw the confiscation of more than seven tonnes of suspected pangolin scales at Hong Kong container terminal. The haul, thought to be worth HK$4.6million was found inside a shipping container from Nigeria.

A shipment of this size represents the loss of thousands of wild pangolins. The key now is to enforce the law and to raise awareness among rural communities so that they understand the importance of protecting pangolins and that criminal actions will be enforced if they don’t. Addressing the consumer end is vital too and again enforcement has to be key. Without immediate action pangolins could be lost within our lifetime.

DSWF will continue to work to rescue and, where possible, return pangolins to the wild but this has to be supported by education, awareness and law enforcement.

For more on DSWF’s work to protect pangolins in Uganda and Zambia see: https://davidshepherd.org/our-work?category=pangolins