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A very special encounter – My first time to see a Temminck’s Ground Pangolin

As a result of the Pangolin being such a heavily trafficked animal, I will not be disclosing the exact location or time of this sighting and will withhold various details of the sighting for the safety of these beautiful animals.

As you might now, my trailcam has been privileged to photograph a Pangolin, Smutsia Temminckii, in footage which I had posted last year. Pangolin on my trailcam

I hadn’t quite expect my first personal meeting to be like this. I imagined that maybe I would be on a game drive and have a lucky sighting. Or maybe I would have been walking in the bush, stumbled across one and got to spend some time with it on my own in nature.

Unfortunately this is not exactly how it went. Someone we know confiscated two Pangolins, a mother and a youngster from poachers. We happened to be in the vicinity shortly after and had the privilege to go and visit them while they were being safely guarded. They were in a nature reserv, guarded and under supervision to make sure they were fine after the trauma of the poaching.

A registered Pangolin first responder we spoke to, told us that these animals are often hurt, dehydrated or they get pneumonia as a result of the conditions in which they are being held when they are captured.

At the time, the two Pangolins seemed to be fine and had a healthy appetite for ants.

We got to see the Pangolins in their natural habitat, doing what they do, really close-up. It was absolutely priceless and something I will never forget.

For many wildlife lovers, seeing a Pangolin, is a bucket-list item and a much sought after mammal-lifer.

It was a very exciting moment, but also a deeply sad one. Pangolins are the most trafficked animal on earth. I couldn’t help looking at them, thinking that I might never see a Pangolin again. It took me 34 years to finally have my first Pangolin encounter and besides the rarity of sightings, there might anyhow be none left soon…

Last night I also watched the film. “Eye of the Pangolin” It is heartbreaking and terrifying at the same time, to see what happens to so many Pangolins. I highly recommend that you watch this movie if you haven’t and share it too! As explained in the movie, we know so little about them that it’s hard to predict what the effects will be on the ecosystem if they are gone, but it could be drastic. It is weird to think that these beautiful animals get killed for something as seemingly insignificant as their scales and it’s so pathetically sad to see the images of bags and bags filled with scales.

As far as these two I saw goes, they have already been released into a safe area, may they stay safe after this ordeal!

Now for the fun part. The footage.

I hope you enjoy this with me. You can click on the individual pictures to enlarge them! I also took a (shaky) video of the two as they were foraging for ants and this will be embedded below!

Lastly, if you are ever in the situation where you are first on the scene of a trafficked Pangolin, this is a useful downloadable resource to have.

First responder Pangolin Manual

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