Photo Credit: Wendy Willson / JWVH

Malay the Pangolin was rescued during a sting operation in Cape Town, 1500km away from her natural habitat; collaboration between the Cape of Good Hope SPCA and the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital, saw her back to health.


Johannesburg, South Africa (29 May 2023) – A female pangolin was rescued from animal traffickers in Cape Town, some 1500km away from where she belongs. The SAPS found her during a sting operation and took her to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA. The SPCA reached out to the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital (JWVH) and together they worked to stabilise her, collect the evidence needed for the SAPS case and get her to the JWVH’s specialised pangolin unit.

The wildlife hospital has become a leading expert in Pangolin medical treatment. With so many being found to have been trafficked, they have been forced to learn the best way to care for the fragile creatures.

The JWVH is currently the only facility mandated by the South African government to treat and rehabilitate pangolins confiscated in South Africa by the SAPS and conservation law enforcement officers on a long-term basis.

In 2022, the veterinary hospital received a massive investment into the work they do. As a result, they opened the first-ever dedicated Pangolin Veterinary Ward with thanks to Investec at an undisclosed location.

The medical staff stresses the message that all pangolin patients are housed off-site at an undisclosed location to protect them and all the medical staff. Due to the animals being in high demand, they cannot risk anyone knowing where the animals are being treated.

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA needed to stabilise the pangolin, who has since been named Malay, in order for her to fly to the specialised Pangolin unit. She had all the typical signs of injury and distress after her rescue, namely dehydration, emaciation and physical injuries from being tied up.

“Pangolin don’t naturally occur in Cape Town and there is only one other recorded incident of a pangolin being intercepted in the illegal trade in the Western Cape.

Malay, as she was fondly named, was rushed to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA where our specialist pangolin veterinarian Dr K talked to their veterinarian through the evidence collection procedures and the emergency treatment the injured pangolin desperately needed.

The next step was to get Malay up to our pangolin treatment facility (at an undisclosed off-site location) as fast as possible. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to CemAir for sponsoring the flight, Bid Air Pet Travel for coming to the rescue with a suitable transport box, CapeNature Reserve and the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) for the lightening fast permit arrangements and the CoGH SPCA for round the clock care and travel arrangements, all of which resulted in the safe and speedy passage of Malay to us here in Joburg and ultimately saved her life.”

When Malay finally arrived at the specialised facility, she underwent further testing and checks. The team found that she is also pregnant! They were quick to ensure the baby was safe too and once Malay had reached several recovery milestones, she was released into the care of other teams until she will be able to be released back to the wild.

“Malay responded well to the treatment and care from our team and after reaching some recovery milestones has been transferred to an undisclosed location under the care of Umoya Khulula Wildlife Centre and Dr Debbie English at Provet Animal Hospital for the rest of her rehabilitation journey back to the wild.

This pangolins amazing rescue, recovery and rehabilitation journey was dependant on many people and multiple organisations working together and stopping at nothing to ensure its success. It’s a pangolin story to be very proud of!”

Every pangolin saved is a win for South Africa. If you would like to contribute towards Simon and many more like him, you can find out how below. They treat indigenous wildlife free of charge so any donation is welcomed.

There are several ways that people can help. JWVH accept donations here, or see their full wishlist here. An easy way to get involved is to also nominate them on your MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet rewards card, which you can do so here. Or via direct bank transfer, see their banking details below.

Johannesburg Wildlife NPC
FNB Cheque account
Account nr: 62658400264
Branch code: 255355
Swift code: FIRNZAJJ

Or via SnapScan:
Or via PayPal:

Sources: JWVH
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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