Rescued pangolin dies after severe suffering

2018-01-24 13:35
The pangolin recovered by police, nicknamed Maritz, died on Monday.

The pangolin recovered by police, nicknamed Maritz, died on Monday. (Supplied)

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The pangolin that was saved by police from being sold illegally in Pietermaritzburg has died.

The 8,9 kg adult pangolin — nicknamed Maritz by organisations that took it in after the ordeal — was found in a backpack by police last week.

The man arrested allegedly planned to sell it for R85 000, police sources said.

Pangolins are considered to be the most highly-trafficked animal in the world, and their sale is illegal.

The man was arrested at a Pietermaritzburg shopping mall, where he was allegedly planning to sell the highly endangered animal. The pangolin was then taken to Johannesburg and was put under the care of a vet.

Nicci Wright, executive director of the African Pangolin Working Group (APWG), which was involved in the pangolin’s care, said it will go for a full post mortem.

Wright, who is also part of the Johannesburg Wildlife Hospital and a local branch of the Humane Society International, said: “Poached pangolins are usually in captivity for up to two weeks with no food or water. This one had been transported in a zipped-up backpack. Together with high stress levels, these factors severely compromise pangolins.”

Recovered pangolins are generally named after where they were confiscated, as it allows caregivers and authorities to easily remember details surrounding that particular one’s circumstances, Wright said.

She said caregivers had kept the pangolin on a drip and conducted regular checks. “He crashed twice and we brought him back.”

She said he “just couldn’t struggle anymore”, and finally died on Monday afternoon.

“We’re devastated. It brings understanding to the horror of the trade and what suffering these delightful creatures endure,” she said.

“A consolation is that most evenings we walked with him in the veld and he fed really well and enjoyed being out.”

A Zimbabwean national, Isaac Mutero (42), made a brief court appearance in connection with the incident last week. He faces a charge of being in possession of a protected species.

He is expected to appear again next Tuesday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  poaching  |  wildlife  |  animals

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