Pangolins are the only mammals known to have plate-like scales which protect them from predators – when threatened, they roll up into a ball, with the scales forming an armoured exterior. Due to the thriving illicit trade in their meat and scales, which are used in some traditional Asian medicines, pangolins are the world’s most trafficked mammal. There has been a significant decrease in pangolin numbers since 2014, with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature listing two of the eight species of pangolin as Critically Endangered, and a further two as Endangered.
The Sangha Pangolin Project works to protect these illusive and solitary animals by rescuing and rehabilitating orphaned or injured pangolins, working with local communities to develop conservation initiatives to raise awareness of the illegal trade, and protect them in the wild.
Pangolins can be found across Africa and Asia, living in hollowed-out trees or underground burrows, tropical and sub-tropical forests, or thick bush, grasslands and open savannah, depending on the species. They mainly eat ants, termites and larvae, using their long sticky tongues to retrieve insects from anthills and termite mounds.
Since rescuing their first pangolin in 2013, the team has cared for and released over 90 individuals. Born Free’s support has helped to fund a pangolarium hospital, set up cameras to monitor progress and behavioural patterns, and build a house so that volunteers can stay on the premises and look after pangolins in their care.
Maggie Balaskas, Born Free’s Animal Rescue and Care Manager says: “Thanks to the support of our pangolin adopters, The Sangha Pangolin Project has been able to make a real difference to the lives of these incredible creatures in the Central African Republic. Projects like this which rehabilitate and release individual animals, and work with local communities to spread the conservation message, are vital if we want to protect wild pangolins.”
Adopt The Pangolin Family to support this vital conservation effort to safeguard the future of pangolins in the wild.
Image © Sangha Pangolin Project