Two pangolins, a mother and her baby, were found together after a two-week search. The two had been stolen from the wild due to a high demand for the endangered species in Asia.
In the illegal animal trade market between Africa and Asia, the pangolin is a prized creature. The unusual mammals are desired for their distinguishing feature—their large scales – as well as for their meat. This drives illegal hunting expeditions and has put the pangolin on the endangered species list.
A mother and baby pangolin disappeared from Kafue National Park, and Zambia authorities began a search. After two weeks, the pangolins were found huddled together in a box. It's characteristic of the species to curl up in a ball when under threat, and the two were balled up together. The animal’s name actually comes from the Malay word 'pengguling', which means, 'something that rolls up'.
From the poor condition of the mother and baby, it is thought that they had been in captivity for over two weeks," said David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation (DSWF) spokesperson Vicky Flynn to 'The Dodo'.
Thankfully they were found alive, though both were in a weakened state. The animals are recovering with the GRI Wildlife Crime Prevention Project.
GRI Wildlife Vet Program veterinarian Annekim Geerdes reported, "They seem to be eating, which is a great sign... They will be given a chance to rest and eat well again."
Pangolin, a nocturnal creature, thrives on insects. Now that mother and baby are sniffing out some tasty bugs again, they are expected to recover. A soon as they are back at a healthy weight, vets plan to release them back into the wildlife park.
As efforts to crack down on illegal hunting increases, demands for exotic animals like the pangolin seem to grow. Over the last 10 years, it's estimated that over a million of these unique creatures were illegally traded.
Source: The Dodo
Photo: GRI Wildlife Vet Program