Sanctuary collaboration ensures second chance for pangolin
A collaboration between two sanctuaries in Cameroon has led to the successful rescue of an endangered white-bellied pangolin.
On the evening of the 4th of October 2022, the Limbe Wildlife Centre (LWC) received a call that a member of the public was in possession of a white-bellied pangolin. They had bought the pangolin from someone who had caught it to eat it. They knew that the pangolin was an endangered species, so they brought the animal to the LWC.
The pangolin was left in a safe and secure enclosure to rest overnight until the following day, when the veterinary team performed a health check. It was a young male who was dehydrated but in good health. The veterinary staff removed several ticks under his scales and on his belly. He was offered some milk formula to drink and given the opportunity to forage for ants, but he was uninterested in food. Pangolins are notoriously tricky to keep in captivity, as they need live insects to eat, so providing them with the nutritional diet they need to stay strong and healthy is not easy. Fortunately, there is a specialist sanctuary in Cameroon that rescues pangolins.
The Tikki Hywood Foundation (THF) has specialised species knowledge and offers a safe space to rehabilitate rescued pangolins until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild. The LWC contacted THF for their advice to care for the pangolin, and it was decided he would be transferred to the special Tikki Hywood rehabilitation centre in to ensure he had the best possible chance at being released.
The LWC is unique in Cameroon in that it is a partnership between NGO Pandrillus and the Cameroon Government, and it was possible to quickly obtain permission from the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MINFOF) to transfer the pangolin, for whose support we are extremely grateful. On the 6th of October, the pangolin was placed into his custom-built crate. One of the LWC’s veterinary team personally undertook the journey to hand the pangolin to THF.
Julie Vanassache, who heads the rehabilitation centre, accepted the pangolin into her care. Along with her excellent staff of rehabilitators, the young pangolin has a bright future ahead of him. He is reportedly eating well and already putting on weight. The two sanctuaries agreed to call him Miyaka, meaning “thank you” in Metta, a Cameroonian dialect.
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