Rare anteater dies of burn wounds

2015-08-27 17:32
A pangolin anteater.

A pangolin anteater. (Shutterstock)

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Zimbabwe - A rare ground pangolin or scaly anteater died from burn wounds after she was rescued from alleged poachers in Zimbabwe last week.

The conservation group, which had been treating her, said in a statement that the pangolin, named Phoenix, was confiscated from poachers and handed to the Tikki Hywood Trust in Harare on August 20.

Pangolin poaching is on the rise in Zimbabwe, although authorities have been clamping down hard on offenders.

When Phoenix was handed over, she was covered in raw maize meal that her captors had seemingly tried to feed her. This had obscured her injuries.

When her carers tried to clean her with antiseptic solution, they discovered that she had been burnt across nearly half of her body. It has not yet been confirmed whether she was deliberately burnt.

"The curled scales with the yellowed edges now showed tell-tale traces of blackening and formed a belt across 40% of her body, along her back and hind quarters," the trust, which has been operating in Zimbabwe for more than two decades, said.

"A closer inspection under the burnt scales revealed that the skin and scales were in fact separating from her body, leaving angry red flesh underneath."

Vets were summoned and for 48 hours the burnt pangolin, wrapped in bright purple bandages, "put up a very brave fight".

But carers were worried that she was not showing any interest in food or water.

The trust announced on its Facebook page late on Wednesday that Phoenix "lost her battle".

The three alleged poachers who were found with Phoenix have been arrested and are in police custody. The trust said they were due to appear in court in early September.

A Mozambican poacher was reportedly handed a nine-year jail sentence in the south-eastern town of Chipinge last week after he was found in possession of a pangolin.

Detectives trapped Blessing Aron, 33, by posing as prospective buyers of the pangolin, Newzimbabwe.com reported.

Up to 100 000 African pangolins are poached each year. These shy nocturnal mammals are valued for their meat and their large overlapping scales, which are used in traditional and Asian medicines.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  poaching  |  animals

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