Of all the ways to defend yourself against a poacher, rolling tightly into a ball isn’t recommended. While it may protect against immediate harm, it makes it for a neat little animal package that can be picked up, put in a bag, and sold into one of the biggest illegal wildlife trades in the world. For pangolins, evolution is backfiring.
That’s where we step in, along with all those working to protect these amazing creatures across the world. Big Life rangers protect pangolins from poachers, and work with Kenya Wildlife Service to monitor the illegal trade and arrest traffickers operating in our area of operation.
Sometimes we are able to confiscate live pangolins, as poachers like to keep them alive whenever possible because live animals have a higher value on the black market. But this presents a challenge, because pangolins are a very sensitive species and don’t do well in captivity or in stressful situations. Saving live pangolins can be tricky.
Enter our friends at the Pangolin Project, who recently ran an intensive training for selected Big Life rangers to teach them to identify pangolin signs and tracks (so that areas with pangolins can be better protected), as well as how to safely handle live animals when confiscated from traffickers.
We are grateful to the Pangolin Project for this collaboration, which helps us help this critically endangered species.
Photo: Pangolin Project - Anthony Ochieng