How a Pangolin Rescue Mission works
It is Sunday morning around 9:25am. Moses Arineitwe receives a call from one of his informants. Another Pangolin Rescue Mission call out. Some locals found a pangolin in their garden. There is talk of capturing it for the pot.
Moses lives in a village bordering the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Moses grew up with a love for wildlife. Not all his fellow villagers feel the same. From the small harmless pangolin to the mighty elephant, they’re all at risk from being poached. The pangolin for eating locally or for being sold to Asia where its scales are highly prized. The elephant for food, one can feed many families, or for selling it’s tusks to the ivory trade.
In early 2017 we visited Moses in his village. Being very impressed by his dedication and his tenacity we’ve supported his work ever since. Early on his marches to stop elephant poaching started a movement. A movement fueled by his relentless invitation to trade spears for shovels. Not only has his persistence resulted in two groups of reformed poachers turned farmers, but a host of informants.
Back to that Sunday morning.
Moses tells the informant to convince the locals to hold on to the pangolin, and not to harm it. The informant does as instructed. The locals are willing to wait, but not for very long. Moses hurries to find a motorcycle driver to take him to the location of the pangolin.
On his arrival he finds the pangolin in a bag placed in a barrel. It is thankfully unharmed. Moses rewards the farmers for not killing the pangolin, and the informant for taking action so quickly. As always, a crowd gathers round to watch. As always Moses takes time to do some education about pangolins.
He talks about how useful they are in gardens. How they eat all sorts of insects that harm vegetables and other plants. He talks about how too many of them are being poached and that it’s their duty to protect them so the species will survive.
Its time to call the Ugandan Wildlife Authorities’ intelligence department. Each time a pangolin is rescued from being poached the officials must be called in. today they will meet Moses at his field office.
At the field office the pangolin is is examined, weighed and measured. It is also allowed to move about so it’s movements can be observed. Fortunately this male White Bellied Pangolin appears well and there is no need to detain it.
The UWA officials arrive. They make their necessary documentation. The pangolin is carefully placed in the transportation box and loaded on the back of the UWA lorry (truck.) The pangolin is now ready to be taken to a safe wild place to be released.
Thanks to Moses, his team of informants and Nikela supporters, another successful endangered Pangolin Rescue Mission is complete. How many is that is exactly? I’ve lost count. It surely is well over 60 pangolins that have been spared from a fateful end over these past few years. And that, makes it all worth it.
Care to be part of the next Pangolin Rescue Mission?
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Nikela is a fundraising non profit on a mission to help people protecting nature, especially doing wildlife conservation.
Nikela helps those protecting and preserving endangered African wildlife species.