A happy ending for this endangered pangolin shows that education and awareness programs do pay off.
“They have a pangolin. Come right away!”
Moses doesn’t waste anytime finding transportation over to the remote border crossing near his home. A border crossing between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. One of his reformed poachers observed a couple of folk looking for buyers for a pangolin.
The pangolin (or scaly anteater) is one of Africa’s most trafficked mammals. Shipments of literally thousands of them have been intercepted enroute to Asia. Their scales, which are basically made of keratin like our finger nails, are sold for $1,700 per kilo. According to Nature.com “…dried scales are roasted, ashed, cooked in oil, butter, vinegar, boy’s urine, or roasted with earth or oyster-shells, to cure a variety of ills. Amongst these are excessive nervousness and hysterical crying in children, women possessed by devils and ogres, malarial fever and deafness.”
Sound crazy? It is and this cute little critter is heading for extinction because of it.
Thank goodness for people like Moses
Of course the sellers of the pangolin didn’t simply want to hand over the poor pangolin to Moses when he arrived. However, Moses has a way with people. He convinces poachers to give up their destructive ways and become bee keepers and tilapia fish farmers. His small group of reformed poachers is growing. We met with them. Heard their stories and saw their beehives and tilapia ponds. [Watch the video]
Here’s the rest of the story in Moses’ own words…
When I reached there I met the 2 men and a lady who were waiting for me as a customer.
I then took time teaching and explaining to them until we agreed that they won’t sale the animal and they handed it over to me and my team .
I immediately called Uganda wildlife authority rangers to come and take care of the animal. They came and took it to the park.
I am yet to go to the park offices for updates.
Yes I had to show that I understand the situation they were in and why they would do such a thing and had to give them some $$ not in terms of buying the animal.
This morning I received an update from Moses, according to the wildlife authorities the pangolin was doing well and they were going to find a suitable place to release her.
Moses takes every opportunity to talk about the importance of nature and wildlife. And why we all need to protect it. Moses lives in a community of around 10,000. A village spread out over many kilometers north of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest in southern Uganda.
FYI: We just provided Moses with the funds to establish his own charity in Uganda