The pangolins were all curled up and terrified.
If it weren’t for state and country borders, many of the illegal activities that occur around the world would go unchecked and unmonitored. Though criminals, immigrants, and frequent travelers may hate the borders, they are often helpful in curbing horrible behavior and events, which is what happened at the border between Laos and Vietnam recently.
Police stopped a suspicious group of people and searched their vehicle, finding something they were not expecting and saving seventy lives in the process. In the vehicle were 70 pangolins, the world’s most illegally trafficked mammal, who were in bad shape and in need of care.
Pangolins are extremely docile animals that are mostly found, hunted, and sometimes eaten in Africa and Asia. They curl up when they are threatened, which is how they were found during their rescue, and are solitary animals except during mating season. The illegal trade is very difficult on them because they aren’t used to being so close to other pangolins for so long, are mishandled and injured, and are force-fed. Since they’re sold for their meat, they can be sold for more money if they are fatter, and they are also trafficked because some believe that their keratin scales have medicinal properties. It’s estimated that over one million pangolins have been trafficked in the past decade, which makes it the most trafficked mammal.
After the terrified animals were discovered, they were rescued by Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, who works to create “environmental harmony between people and nature.” They took in all of the pangolins, which brought their numbers up to 130 and forced them to place several in each cage together. These solitary animals are already stressed by their situation and will not recover properly if they’re not able to have their own space.
The pangolins were weak when they entered the facility, but they’re slowly recovering. One animal already died from their injuries and some of them have lost claws and limbs because of the traps used to catch them.
Rescuers aren’t giving up on these helpless creatures who became victims of cruel human desires and are asking that anyone interested in helping out the organization to please donate here. Every five minutes, a pangolin is caught in the wild in Africa or Asia in order to sell or eat them. They sustain horrible injuries, are forced into a small bag, and transported hundreds of miles in boxes with other pangolins.
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