Zoo-perb effort to save animal
A Hamilton zookeeper is on a mission to raise awareness of one very endangered creature – the pangolin.
Natalie Martin, a head keeper at Calderglen Zoo in East Kilbride, is preparing to head off to the Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife in Laos, Southeast Asia, where she will spend a month volunteering and developing conservation links.
The Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife currently care for the pangolin – one of the most trafficked mammals on the planet – by rescuing them from the illegal wildlife trade, rehabilitating them and releasing them back into the wild.
They also work to develop a respect for wildlife in local people by educating them about caring for animals.
Natalie (27) explained: “Calderglen Zoo is constantly striving to develop our conservation links so this is a fantastic project for us to be involved with.
“The staff at Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife and I feel we can learn a lot from each other and are excited about the future.”
The Lao Conservation Trust for Wildlife cares for bears, previously kept in tiny cages as pets, an elephant who was neglected by its original owners, pangolins rescued from the illegal wildlife trade, monkeys saved from the exotic pet trade, and civets rescued from the cruel coffee trade.
All animals who can be released back into the wild are, but any animals who cannot be released due to their history live out the rest of their days at the centre receiving the best welfare possible.
Natalie, who was recently promoted at Calderglen Zoo, added: “Among other things whilst there I will be tending to the animals at the centre through feeding them, providing enrichment to keep the animals stimulated and building new enclosures for any future rescues from the illegal wildlife trade.
“The trip is completely self-funded so I have set up a Go Fund Me page (go online to www.gofundme.com/ help-support-the-pangolins) to help the centre and any money raised will indeed go directly towards the animals’ welfare.”