Pangolin Protectors - PhMuseum

Pangolin Protectors

Neil Aldridge

2018 - Ongoing

South Africa

Pangolins have become the world's most illegally trafficked mammal. After being taken from the wild, traded and killed, pangolins are trafficked to the Far East where their scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine – even though science shows that these have no medicinal value. In a bid to do their bit to halt the decline in numbers, the vets at a remote wildlife rehabilitation facility in Limpopo Province, South Africa – originally set up to save rhinos – recently opened their doors to care for pangolins saved from poachers in sting operations. The vets hand-feed the pangolins and also help them find food naturally by taking them foraging for ants. Once they are in good enough condition, the animals are returned to the wild, but not without ongoing protection from anti-poaching teams and monitoring from researchers.

{{ readMoreButton }}

  • In our hands - the pangolin has become the world’s most illegally trafficked mammal, but we can stop the decline through science, education and protection.

  • A vet carries an orphaned pangolin on an afternoon forage to teach the young animal to find ants during its rehabilitation at the Rhino Revolution facility in Limpopo Province, South Africa. This orphan was found abandoned after its mother was taken by poachers for the illegal wildlife trade, which traffics more pangolins than any other mammal globally so that their scales can be used in traditional Chinese medicine. This portrait was momentarily captured during a real rehabilitaion operation at this location to cause no stress to the vulnerable animal and to maintain integrity.

  • An orphaned pangolin is weighed to monitor its condition during its rehabilitation at the Rhino Revolution facility in Limpopo Province, South Africa. This orphan was found abandoned after its mother was taken by poachers for the illegal wildlife trade, which traffics more pangolins than any other mammal globally so that their scales can be used in traditional Chinese medicine.

  • A young orphaned Temminck's ground pangolin is hand-fed with cat milk during its rehabilitation on at the Rhino Revolution facility in Limpopo Province, South Africa. This orphan was found abandoned after its mother was taken by poachers for the illegal wildlife trade, which traffics more pangolins than any other mammal globally so that their scales can be used in traditional Chinese medicine.

  • A vet cradles and kisses a young orphaned pangolin during its rehabilitation at the Rhino Revolution facility in Limpopo Province, South Africa. This orphan was found abandoned after its mother was taken by poachers for the illegal wildlife trade, which traffics more pangolins than any other mammal globally so that their scales can be used in traditional Chinese medicine.

  • A vet takes a rescued pangolin for a walk to forage for ants during its rehabilitation at the Rhino Revolution facility in Limpopo Province, South Africa. This pangolin was rescued during a sting operation from poachers, who traffic more pangolins than any other mammal globally so that their scales can be used in traditional Chinese medicine.

  • Point of purchase - impoverished Zimbabweans smuggle live pangolins across the dry Limpopo River - the border between their country and South Africa - in the hope to sell them on. Once in South Africa, the animals are then killed for their scales, which are trafficked to the Far East for traditional medicine. Pangolins are victims of Zimbabwe’s desperate and lengthy economic crisis.

  • The scales of a Temminck's ground pangolin. It is this body part that has made pangolins the world over the most illegally trafficked mammal. Scales are consumed in the Far East as part of traditional Chinese medicine, despite it being proven that they contain no medicinal properties.

  • An orphaned pangolin stays close to an anti-poaching guard providing security while it forages during its rehabilitation at the Rhino Revolution facility in Limpopo Province, South Africa. This orphan was found abandoned after its mother was taken by poachers for the illegal wildlife trade, which traffics more pangolins than any other mammal globally so that their scales can be used in traditional Chinese medicine.

  • Researcher Francois Meyer uses radio telemetry to search for an adult Temminck's ground pangolin that had been released back into the wild following its rehabilitation and rescue from poachers in Limpopo Province, South Africa. The pangolins Francois monitors have all been saved from poachers who sell them in to the illegal wildlife trade so that they can be trafficked to the Far East where their scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

  • An adult pangolin forages for ants during a managed release back into the wild following its rehabilitation at the Rhino Revolution facility in Limpopo Province, South Africa. This pangolin was rescued during a sting operation from poachers, who traffic more pangolins than any other mammal globally so that their scales can be used in traditional Chinese medicine.


Newsletter