Skip to main content

Protecting the Pangolin

By February 17, 2021July 17th, 2023No Comments

The most poached mammal on the planet

The revered “old man” of the bush is now one of the most poached mammals in the world. The Pangolin, after surviving over 85 million years, is now facing extinction due to the illegal bushmeat trade and the demand for its scales that are used in many traditional medicines.

"68 tons of scales representing an estimated 120 000 African pangolins were intercepted by law enforcement agencies and customs officials at ports in both Africa and Asia in 2019 alone."

To be a part of the ongoing rescue and rehabilitation of these phenomenal animals is a privilege and an experience that cannot be explained in words. For the past few years,&Beyond Phinda Private Game reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal has been an active participant in the rescue and rehabilitation of these fascinating creatures. In collaboration with The African Pangolin Working Group, Phinda have set up a program that releases Temminck’s Pangolin’s back into the wild.

Elusive and secretive, the nocturnal Pangolin is still a mystery and research is continuing to ensure that they do not become another statistic on the extinction list. In June 2019, the reintroduction of Pangolins to the Kwa Zulu Natal bush began. An area where these mammals had not been seen in over 40 years. 

Image credit: andBeyond Phinda

Each pangolin released into the wild at Phinda has been rescued and confiscated from the illegal bushmeat trade, undergone months of rehabilitation and on release is still closely monitored by Ecological Monitors in the reserve.

When visiting Phinda Private Game Reserve, you are able to participate in this conservation project. Join the ecological monitoring team on a walk through the bush in search of the released pangolins. Each one is fitted with two transmitters and your specialist guide will teach how you to track them using the UHF tracker.

Take a peek into the daily lives not only of this ancient species but also into the daily life of the team that is there to protect and research them. Gather data during your adventure and discover a little more about a species of mammal that may soon be extinct if our human race does not step in to protect them. 

December 2020 was a major landmark in the reintroduction program as the first pangolin pup was born in the region in decades. This is the ultimate reward for the team who have been diligently working to make a success of this pioneering project.

Did you know?
  • Pangolins have been around for over 85 million years
  • They are the world’s only scaled mammal
  • They are most closely related to the canine family so their young are called pups
  • Pangolins can eat up to 500 grams of ants & termites in 1 night 
  • Approximately 1900 pangolins are needed to make 1 ton of scales
  • More than 60 tons of scales were confiscated in 2019-2020
  • Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy and a single plate can cost upwards of $2500 in Chinese restaurants

If you would like to be part of a unique conservation effort then our City, Bush & Beach Journey may be exactly what you are looking for. A journey that combines exclusive and rewarding conservation projects with diverse cultures, big city lights, and the lure of island life. 

View our signature Southern Africa journey
City, Bush & Beach
Three unique experiences combined into one ultimate journey

An enticing adventure that combines the splendor of Cape Town with the luxury of a Big Five safari, topped off with the romance of an idyllic island getaway. A journey that allows you to recapture the excitement and joy of traveling.