In the past week, Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) has rescued six pangolins through four separate operations across western Zambia. These scaly anteaters had been illegally captured from the wild by poachers and were being sold as part of the illegal wildlife trade.

GRI Wildlife Veterinary Project has assisted ZAWA in releasing four of the pangolins back into wild in Kafue National Park. Sadly two died as a result of their capture, one of which was a premature newborn whose mother gave birth due to stress.

Pangolins are often trafficked because their scales are prized in traditional Chinese medicine. In Zambia it has been reported that some cultures put a pangolin scale in their business cash box to protect their money. Other cultures believe that if the pangolin is fed special foods for a few days and then killed and opened a diamond will be found inside.

CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) has reported that these scaly anteaters are now the most hunted animal on the planet. Making matters worse, the female pangolin only gestates once per year, so opportunities for reproduction are limited.

GRI Wildlife Crime Prevention Project provides operational support to the ZAWA Intelligence and Investigations Unit involved in these anti-trafficking operations to deter and prevent the illegal wildlife trade in Zambia.

For more information please see:

Sarah Davies, Wildlife Crime Prevention Project, Game Rangers International