Oct 21, 2011

The Pangolin Visits

To come across a Pangolin in the wild is a very difficult thing; to come across two in less than a week, is amazing! They are rare nocturnal animals. In May this year we were so fortunate to have two pangolins staying with us for a couple of days. We still cannot believe it, but we got the pictures to prove it!

Our first “artichoke” visitor was brought in by a farmer who took him from the indigenous people. He was a bit of a character as his front right leg was missing due to an old snare injury. We kept them in the clinic for 3 days and feed him termites which he gladly ate with his very long tongue (which is 1/3 of his body length) until we could find a new and suitable home for him.

We took some faeces, blood and scale samples and sent them to the T.U.T to help them on their pangolin research. Let us tell you, getting a blood sample from a pangolin was very difficult! The scale sample took a lot of effort as well. They might be small animals but they are definitely tough.

While we were driving on the farm to Forest camp for dinner, we found our second visitor and this being a couple of nights after we had released the first one. Jan and Hardus the guides got off to get the pangolin and told the students to come and see a very rare sight. We decided to bring him back to the clinic and release him in the same reserve we had released the previous one. Moholoholo is not big enough for this animal and we are fenced in with an electrified fence as we have neighbours who do not want their animals coming into our reserve. Its territory can be up to 20.000 hectares a day and can they can get caught and die in an electric fence rolling itself up around it. Before he left, we made sure he had his 15minutes of fame, and made him the star of our student photo-shoot!

They were both released near the Kruger National Park where they can help themselves to as many ants and termites they want.

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