A solar-powered 'Meerkat' is protecting South Africa's rhinos
17 February 2020
This pangolin received a second chance at living wild and free when Mozambique law-enforcement rescued it from wildlife traffickers in Maputo a couple of weeks ago. The dedicated conservation and anti-poaching teams in Maputo Special Reserve took care of it for a few days just to make sure that it was healthy and unharmed, before releasing the pangolin at its new home in Limpopo National Park.
As we commemorate the 9th Annual World Pangolin Day on 15 February 2020, we are reminded of the plight of these unique and beautiful scaly anteaters. Pangolin is the most illegally trafficked wild animal on the planet and all eight species are categorised under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List as either Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable. Pangolin scales are used in traditional Asian medicine, which supposedly treats a range of medical conditions, despite the fact that there is no medical validity to these claims. These nocturnal mammals are also considered a delicacy in some Asian countries, with their meat selling for up to $150 per kilogram. Sadly, humans have become the pangolin’s biggest predator and not even its large, protective keratin scales can shield it from being poached and illegally exported and imported as food, medicine, trophies or even pets.
Peace Parks Foundation has been working in close partnership with the National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC) to increase the effectiveness of protection efforts in parks such as Maputo Special Reserve and Limpopo National Park, to create safe ecosystems within which species such as pangolin can once again thrive. These efforts include improving skilled anti-poaching strategies and capacity, developing advanced communication and technology systems, improving cross-border collaboration with South African counterparts within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, and engaging local communities.
Stay safe friend Pangolin!