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South African hospital offers new hope to endangered pangolins

Pangolin in South Africa   -  
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South Africa

Pangolins are among the most endangered species in the world. 

Their scales are made of keratin and are highly prized in Asia.

This hospital in South Africa is looking after pangolins seized during police operations.

"We haven’t yet figured out exactly what the parasite is, but he’s suffering from a blood parasite. And what the blood parasite is doing is destroying his red blood cells, so it’s making him anaemic and we’re trying to cope with that", said Kelsey Skinner, a  veterinarian at the Johannesburg Wildlife Hospital.

Pangolins are a relatively obscure species hence the importance of learning and documenting their behaviour.

Nicci Wright is a Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist at the hospital.

"The actual veterinary medicine and rehabilitation process hasn’t been well documented at all and very little is actually known about the African species, our four species here in Africa. So the better we can do it and the more we can document, the more we are learning about the species. And remember this is a critically endangered species. We don’t know how many pangolins are left on the planet…", said this specialist.

Pangolins are among the most poached animals in the world. Demand comes mostly from Asia where their scales are used in traditional medicine.

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