The dif­fi­cul­ties of res­cu­ing pan­golins

Viet Nam News - - FEATURES -

HAØ NOÄI — Pro­tect­ing pan­golins from the wildlife trade is a dif­fi­cult task.

From res­cu­ing them from an­i­mal traf­fick­ers to keep­ing them healthy and alive, each part of the process re­quires great ef­fort and care.

One ex­am­ple is when 98 pan­golins were res­cued by the for­est pro­tec­tion branch of Moùng Caùi City in the north­ern coastal prov­ince of Quaûng Ninh in Septem­ber, the Kinh teá & Ñoâ thò (Eco­nomic and Ur­ban Af­fairs) news­pa­per re­ported.

The night ride tak­ing the pan­golins from the prov­ince to the Haø Noäi Wildlife Res­cue Cen­tre was a nerve-wrack­ing one, said Löông Xuaân Hoàng, the cen­tre’s di­rec­tor.

“We were es­corted by one of the for­est rangers’ cars,” he told Kinh teá & Ñoâ thò.

“It was a 100km-long wind­ing road in to­tal dark­ness and not a sin­gle per­son in sight, just a few con­tainer trucks de­liv­er­ing goods to the bor­ders.

“At one point we re­alised we were be­ing fol­lowed by a truck and the at­mos­phere be­came tense. If they had been thieves we would have had to fire a gun in the air and ask for sup­port from the for­est rangers.”

Luck­ily noth­ing hap­pened, and the res­cue team reached their cen­tre at 5.30am.

De­spite be­ing ex­hausted, the res­cuers did not leave the cen­tre un­til they ex­am­ined all pan­golins, clas­si­fied them, and put them into their cages.

“We were wor­ried sick since they were all in bad health and at high risk of mor­tal­ity,” Hoàng said. “Wildlife res­cue is al­ways a dif­fi­cult job, but this is the most stress­ful case I have ever been in­volved in.”

The cen­tre is where the pan­golins are nur­tured back to health, a process that takes months for those that are se­verely in­jured.

Since pan­golins are such a sen­si­tive species, try­ing to force feed them is a no-no, said Trònh Thò Thu Haèng, a vet at the cen­tre.

“We have to check up on them ev­ery day and have dif­fer­ent care reg­i­mens catered to each in­di­vid­ual,” she said.

“The ma­jor­ity of the 98 res­cued pan­golins had in­testi­nal dam­age and suf­fered from stress and de­hy­dra­tion, so they needed wa­ter in­jec­tions and medicines for 7 con­sec­u­tive days.

“Those who had in­testi­nal in­flam­ma­tion and ul­cers must re­ceive treat­ment for a whole month be­fore they can re­cover and feed them­selves.”

The cen­tre formed a spe­cial care team with 9 mem­bers, who took turns su­per­vis­ing the pan­golins and mak­ing sure they re­ceive timely treat­ment for any unusual symp­toms.

“Res­cu­ing pan­golins is hard, keep­ing them healthy is sev­eral times harder,” said the cen­tre’s di­rec­tor Hoàng.

“They eat ant eggs, and we al­ways try to mix them with soybean to add nu­tri­ents to their meals.”

Af­ter 8 days of in­ten­sive care, on Septem­ber 14, 73 of the pan­golins were trans­ferred to the Cen­tre for Res­cue, Con­ser­va­tion and Bi­o­log­i­cal De­vel­op­ment at Cuùc Phöông Na­tional Park, Hoàng added.

By now they have fully re­cov­ered and are ready to re­turn to na­ture, he said. — VNS

Staff mem­bers from the Haø Noäi Wildlife Res­cue Cen­tre de­liver pan­golins to the Cen­tre for Res­cue, Con­ser­va­tion and Bi­o­log­i­cal De­vel­op­ment at Cuùc Phöông Na­tional Park. The pan­golins were res­cued from an­i­mal traf­fick­ers in Septem­ber. — Photo kin­hte­

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