Photo Credit: Nathan Marshall, Cheryl Thomas

An Uber driver bravely faced animal traffickers to save the life of a Pangolin; this pregnant female would have never been found, had the driver not noticed the bag moving and driven straight to the police.


Undisclosed Location, South Africa (28 August 2023) – Uber drivers are having a moment in South Africa by being the heroes of the day! Recently an Uber driver was the pivotal roleplayer in saving a Pangolin from her captors.

According to a report by the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital, an Uber driver noticed that the bag being loaded into his car, kept moving. Feeling uneasy, he drove from Sandton toward the destination in Pretoria. With the BRICS summit currently taking place, police presence on the roads was much higher and knowing there was a roadblock on the route, the Uber driver headed straight towards the police.

When he reached the roadblock, he alerted the officer that there was a problem. The officers checked the bag and found a pangolin inside. It was that pangolin’s lucky day to have such a diligent Uber driver. It is safe to say he saved her life.

Protocol for these cases sees SAPS collecting the evidence alongside the SPCA and the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital to ensure proper prosecution can take place. The pangolin is then taken to an undisclosed location for treatment.

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.

“Inspector Godfrey of Sandton SPCA rushed out to assist the police, and called us to meet him at Bramley police station to complete the necessary paperwork and take custody of the visibly terrified pangolin.

Once we had taken this pangolin to safety, she was sedated and medically examined. A sub-adult female pangolin, pregnant, and with injuries to her two front claws – most likely from trying to escape from what she was held captive in. She also had damage to the scales on her back.

Initially, in an effort to reintroduce food to her system, we tube-fed her with Virbac Nutribound. She has been walked daily for hours at a time (Temmick’s pangolins do not eat in captivity), and we hope she will go from strength to strength.

Our thanks to Inspector Godfrey, the Uber driver (we wish we knew your name!), DPCI Cullinan stock theft unit and the SAPS team at Bramley station.”

Photo Credit: Nathan Marshall, Cheryl Thomas

Every pangolin saved is a win for South Africa. If you would like to contribute, 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: https://pos.snapscan.io/qr/PXMP5766
Or via PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/joburgwildlifevet

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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