During August, news of a poached pangolin reached the team at the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital (JWVH)…

While the rescue of live pangolins during sting operations is nothing new, this case was different. Although the animal was alive, poachers had sealed its fate by removing its claws.

The JWVH team tried their best to save the animal in the hope that his claws would grow back – if they did, he could return to the wild. Unfortunately, after three months of care there was no sign of regrowth, and other aspects of the pangolin’s health continued to deteriorate.

The animal reached the ‘point of no return’ and the difficult decision was taken to humanely euthanise him. Without claws, he would never feed on his own again, and pangolins are unable to survive in captivity.

Pangolins are taken from the wild as their scales are used in many traditional medicines, and they are also seen as a delicacy. The demand on the African continent has increased as pangolins in Asia have been subject to poaching for much longer.

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Poaching pangolins from the wild is mostly orchestrated by international syndicates.

Find out more about the plight of this pangolin and other interesting conservation stories in the latest Safari News.

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