Sadly Pangolin are THE most endangered mammal on the planet!
Fortunately there are people like Moses who care.
Almost single-handedly he snatches one pangolin at a time from being sold off to Asia. He has been on dozens of rescue missions. About 90% end successfully… with the pangolin being released back into the wild.
It was in early 2017 that we met up with Moses in his village outside of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. We met on Facebook several years before. We followed his unique approach to stop wildlife poaching by reforming poachers. Somehow he convinces them to turn in their spears for a shovel and take up farming.
But this is not about Moses’ poacher reforming efforts, but about his passion to save every pangolin possible from being killed for bush meat or sold to Asia.
We connected him with Lisa from the Tikki Hywood Trust. Lisa is the world expert on pangolin and was more than willing to offer guidance. For example: Like not picking up a pangolin by its tail, but allowing it to curl up in a ball and carry it that way.
Now Moses is equipped with a rescue box, measuring tape and portable scale. The health status of a pangolin is assessed by measuring its length and its weight.
Pangolin are rather delicate creatures. They live off ants. When they’re stolen out of the bush by a poacher and stuffed in a sack they quickly get dehydrated and hungry.
Here’s how a rescue works.
Moses has many informants in his area. When any suspicious activity, like a “ball” in a bag being shown around, is witnessed the informant sends Moses a text message. Moses grabs his supplies and heads for the location. Either he uses his old car or gets a friend to take him on the back of his motorbike.
Once on the scene Moses goes into diplomatic mode. Reportedly nine times out of ten he is able to convince the poacher to give him the pangolin. Sadly at times he arrives too late and the buyer is long gone.
However, when his arrival is timely the wildlife authorities are called in. Moses weighs and measures the pangolin and reports to Rebecca with the Tikki Hywood Trust. If the pangolin is deemed healthy enough it is turned over to the authorities to be released in a safe undisclosed location. Rewards are paid, Moses educates villagers, and another pangolin is saved.
Moses is called out to rescue a pangolin anytime night or day. Over the past month the calls have been increasing. Probably largely due to his growing network of informants.
For as little as $75 he is able to save a pangolin from a cruel death. Each pangolin Moses saves keeps extinction at bay for this most highly endangered mammal.
Let’s not let a bit of cash stand in the way of helping Moses save another pangolin tomorrow.