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With hardened scales made of keratin to protect their soft bodies, and the ability to roll up into a tight ball when danger is near, the pangolin is an incredibly prehistoric-looking creature. Much like the rhino horn, the pangolin scales are highly sought after in the illegal wildlife trade. With staggering statistics completely wiping out the species, Pangolins have been dubbed the worlds most trafficked animal. It is for this reason that the Zululand Conservation Trust has dedicated a large number of our conservation funds towards the protection, rehabilitation and monitoring of these incredible animals.

Manyoni Private Game Reserve is working closely with the African Pangolin Working Group and Johannesburg Wildlife Vet to rehome Temmincks ground pangolin that has been rescued from the wildlife trade. Pangolins possess no vocal cords and their only defence is to roll into a ball and lay still – this makes them easy for poachers to capture and conceal them. Whilst in the hands of poachers these pangolins deteriorate due to stress, dehydration and lack of food. But there are people fighting against this trade and each animal confiscated is given a second chance at life. When survivors arrive at the Johannesburg Wildlife vet they receive intensive care and are nursed back to health by a dedicated team and once they are strong enough the pangolins are taken to a suitable reserve (Manyoni being one of the sites) where the “soft release” process begins.

The rehabilitation of the Temmincks Pangolin is an intensive program as the animals require around the clock monitoring to ensure they acclimatise, finding suitable food and gaining weight. We at ZCT have been involved in the hands-on monitoring and soft release process, and have funded the equipment needed to ensure reliable monitoring. The Temmincks Pangolin has not roamed Zululand for nearly 70 years and so this is a historic moment for us and an incredible project of proactive conservation of an extremely endangered species.