February 19 marked World Pangolin Day and a year after the launch of the first dedicated pangolin veterinary service in Africa in partnership with Investec and the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital.
Of the 17 pangolins that have been cared for by the service over the past year, eight have been fully released into safe and suitable habitat where they are currently being monitored. Six are still in their rehabilitation process, and one is in a soft release process.
The hospital’s co-founder and chief veterinarian, Dr. Karen Lourens, attributed the success of the pangolin treatment service to its climate-controlled and quiet environment. This allows pangolins to recover without being further stressed.
“It is equipped so that vets can do their job without moving the pangolin, reducing stress and improving safety.
“It is in a safe and secure space with high security measures in place and the figures from last year’s rehabilitation certainly speak to the quality and necessity of the facility.”
Two additional pangolins were returned to their territory immediately after veterinary checks.
Lourens was recently invited to become a member of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Pangolin Specialist Group, allowing her to share her knowledge on the treatment of injured pangolins globally. helped.
The group is responsible for global pangolin conservation, and she will join fellow vet, Nicci Wright.
Various reports highlight the threat to pangolins as they are the most poached mammal in the world for their meat, skin and scales.
Head of conservation at Investec, Geraldine Fleming, said there was an increase in wildlife crime according to the United Nations report on wildlife crime.
“[The hospital] built cases that resulted in successful prosecutions with maximum sentences of 10 years.
“Investec, in conjunction with the Financial Intelligence Center and the Hawks, working through the South African Integrated Anti-Money Laundering Task Force, hopes to integrate related financial investigations into each prosecution.”
She added that with the veterinary hospital working with the African pangolin task force, there is hope to build stronger cases against wildlife criminals to see longer prison sentences and a further disruption of criminal networks.
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