In Zimbia, three smugglers were caught allegedly planning to sell a mother and baby pangolin on the black market after poaching the rare creature. Now the three alleged smugglers are behind bars.
On June 12, Zambian authorities found and identified the horrified animals after hunting down the smugglers for an entire week. They finally had a taste of their own medicine being the hunted party for once.
When their rescuers finally found them mother and baby pangolin were found stashed in a wooden box with the pair clinging to each other in a defensive posture.
“From the poor condition of the mother and baby, it is thought that they had been in captivity for over two weeks,” Vicky Flynn of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation told The Dodo.
Now the animals are being rehabilitated by the GRI Wildlife Crime Prevention Project. They were traumatized as the unfeeling smugglers treated the rare animals terribly during their captivity.
Reportedly, the animals were weakened substantially during their time trapped in the tiny wooden box. After their rescuers help them fully recovery, the pangolins will be released into the Kafue National Park where they’ll be free. The Park is the largest national park in the African country of Zambia.
“They seem to be eating, which is a great sign,” Annekim Geerdes of the GRI Wildlife Vet Program, said in a statement, according to The Dodo. “They will be given a chance to rest and eat well again.”
During their rehabilitation, the nocturnal pangolins will be taken out for a walk where they can feed on their favorite insects. Geerdes is the one in charge of these night-time excursions.
Asian markets demand the meat and scales of the pangolins. Therefore smugglers hunt and capture these wild mammals for a few extra dollars.
Recently, the pangolins have become the most widely traded wild mammal on the planet. Between 2011 and 2013 alone, more than 233,980 pangolins were killed so Asians could feed on their meat and collect their scales for various purposes.
Over the weekend on June 18, two people, including one member of the Indonesian army were caught and arrested after they tried to smuggle eight critically-endangered pangolins in Medan, North Sumatra, Jakarta Globe reports.
The head of law enforcement at the Sumatra Environment and Forestry Authority, Tulus Hutahuruk admits that just one pangolin sells for about $375 in North Sumatra on the black market. That’s a lot of money in that poor part of the world.
Here are three facts about the world’s most hunted wild mammal:
1) A pangolin’s tongue can be longer than its body. It starts deep in the chest cavity and its used to collect insects.
2) Pangolins are the only mammal on the entire planet who are covered in scales. Their scales are the same material as rhino horns, bird talons, or human fingernails.
3) They protect themselves by rolling into a ball and lashing out at predators with their scaly tail which can cut easily. They also release a noxious-smelling acid from glands near their bums just like a skunk.
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