Pangolin rehabilitation – A focus for 2023

Pangolin rehabilitation – A focus for 2023

As some of you may know, we at Conserv Earth have decided that pangolin rehabilitation and conservation will be one of our focus projects for the year. In collaboration with Umoya Khulala Wildlife centre, we will be looking to raise funds for the centre and the incredible work they do to rehabilitate and then release pangolins that have been caught in anti poaching campaigns and arrests. To do so, we will  be looking to raise funds for the below:

  • Pangolin tracking tags: R40,000 (A set of 1 UHF/VHF and 1 satellite tag)
  • Sponsor a Shepherd: R40 000 will cover food, accommodation, equipment & clothing.
  • Pangolin Pledge: R1000 to R100,000
  • Foster or adopt a Pangolin: R100 000


Chris and Joffers recently visited an undisclosed location where the shepherds walk the pangolins for their daily/nightly forage. Have a look at the images above and read below from Joffers describing the experience… 

The pangolins wake up in the late afternoon to early evenings in their rooms. This is when the shepherds make their way to collect their specific pangolin. Now this is something that is crucial for the success of the animal that they do not change shepherds’ multiple times. They form a bond that seems to be unbreakable and it is immediately noticed when the shepherds pick up their pangolin for their daily feeding activity. The pangolins are completely relaxed in the arms and safety of their shepherd. This is a bond that is not formed overnight but rather over a few weeks, this allows the animal time to familiarise itself with the scent, voice and other attributes of their specific shepherd and this largely contributes to the success of the rehabilitation. There is a number of steps that needed to be taken in order for the project to be as effective as possible. Firstly, as the pangolins wake up, they are taken to a small clinic where they are weighed and checked. From the clinic they are then carried to the desired feeding location where the shepherd will ensure that they get their daily exercise as well as a full belly. It was incredible to take note of the the vast distance that they cover whilst feeding and as to how and what they feed on. We were fortunate enough to walk with the pangolin for a few hours taking note of the smaller habits that their lives’ entail. The shepherd that we joined was fantastic and expressed his love for the job and as well as his gratitude for being able to make a difference in the conservation world. It was amazing to take note as to how the shepherd gained the animals trust… This is mostly done by placing the pangolin on a suitable ant nest or termite mound, thus shows the pangolin that it is being assisted and the Shephard can be trusted. In this case, the specific pangolin knew the her shepherd well, but this is important at the start of the process.  It was a fairly unique walk as the pangolin we followed was to be released back into the wilderness the next day . This was a difficult time for the entire team as they had become so attached, however, in the same breath it is a bitter sweet moment – sad to break the bond but the excitement could not be contained knowing that they have rehabilitated an animal that is going to be released and hopefully contribute to future generations. Prior to the release of a pangolin there is a procedure that must be followed and that entails putting a tracking device on the animal, recording weight and general health. The tracking devices are of huge importance. It is to be known, the tracking devices do not restrict the pangolins movement at all and allows for the team to keep close tabs on their released animals. This is great to keep up to date as to how the pangolin are settling into their new home as well as assists the researchers in finding out more about these secretive creatures. 

This is an amazing project to be a part of and together we can help make a difference to the survival of one of Africa’s most iconic species. 

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Our mission is to restore our natural earth by facilitating sustainable solutions for people and wildlife to coexist, and by connecting people, protected areas, non-profits, the private sector, and individuals to make a greater impact together. 

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