On the 12th of November, a pangolin was born while her mother was being treated after being poached, the little miracle has sadly passed away today. A reminder that the poaching needs to end!
Johannesburg, South Africa – The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital treats indigenous wildlife free of charge. This often means that when raids on animal poachers are done, the poaching victims are taken to the wildlife vet for treatment. The hospital team are experts in caring for small mammals such as the Pangolin.
They often share heartwarming stories as well as the heartbreaking ones about the rescues they receive. Once again, we have a heartbreaking tale to share. Two days ago, we shared the happy news of a pangolin birth. The mother was a victim of poaching and was being treated when she gave birth. The delivery was a surprise to the team but a welcome blessing.
The staff at the veterinary hospital were cautiously hopeful for the little pangolin. They named her Mishwa, derived from the Shona word meaning surprise. The team spoke of how fragile pangolin are, especially if capture when pregnant. Poaching often leads to premature births. Sadly, Mishwa grew weaker and weaker after her birth and passed away.
The passing of Mishwa has brought tears to our eyes and made it even more important to raise awareness for the pangolin.
“Being reclusive solitary animals, Temmincks ground pangolins (Smutsia temminckii) are placed under enormous stress when poached from their wild habitat to be sold in the illegal wildlife trade. In addition to stress, poached pangolins are often kept in terrible conditions, often involving efforts to disguise their unique smell in attempts to keep them hidden from authorities. They are often starved too, for days, as they only eat a specific diet while foraging. All this severely threatens their survival and enormous amounts of stress compromises their health. This can result in organs shutting down, meaning the poor pangolins untimely death.
In addition to this, should the pangolin be pregnant, this might result in the early birth of their baby. Premature births often don’t survive – thus adding future threat to our pangolin population – the future generation.”
The team at the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital are devastated by the loss, saying she was a little bundle of hope for the future of the pangolin species.
“Poached pangolins that are rescued from the illegal wildlife trade are often in poor condition due to their awful conditions they are kept in as well as not having the opportunity to feed. When also pregnant, not only are their systems compromised, but this adds stress to the unborn foetus too! This systemic stress on such a reclusive species often results in pups being born too early. If a pup is born too early, their lungs are underdeveloped, which results in them only surviving between 24 and 48 hours. While we knew this was a huge possibility, we still held onto the hope that she would be okay.
Our team are devastated.
We experience the trauma from the illegal wildlife trade on a regular basis. Mishwa was a bundle of hope in a dire crisis we face in trying to save this species amongst caring for all the other wildlife critters that come our way.
We are so sorry we could not save you, Mishwa, but we continue to fight for pangolins, and we are still working hard to ensure her mom, Ellie, survives against all odds.”
The Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital do incredible work but are always in need of public assistance! The Vet treats indigenous animals free of charge and relies solely on the donations.
They have several ways that people can help. They 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 direct bank transfer, see their banking details below.
Johannesburg Wildlife NPC
FNB Cheque account
Account nr: 62658400264
Branch code: 255355
Swift code: FIRNZAJJ