Dying pangolin saved by transfusion

A pangolin named Fortunate who was rescued from a poacher’s bag has been given the blood of another pangolin at a veterinary hospital in Johannesburg in what is being described as the first procedure of its kind.

When the ten-year-old scaly mammal was discovered in a police wildlife trafficking operation two months ago he was close to death from starvation and had an infection after his main claws had been plucked out. Fortunate is an African ground pangolin, also known as Temminck’s pangolin. He was handed in to the hospital two months ago by police.

Karen Lourens carried out the transfusion after protein levels in Fortunate’s blood dropped, taking 30ml of blood from another rescued pangolin that was about to be returned to the wild. “It was a risk but it worked very well,” she said.

The pangolin is the world’s most illegally trafficked animal, with an estimated 300 poached every day. The demand for its scales and meat is driven by China and Vietnam where they are used in traditional medicine and eaten as a delicacy. In April more than 14 tonnes of scales from 36,000 animals were seized in Singapore.

There are eight species of pangolin, four in Asia and four in Africa, and they have the highest level of protection under the pact that controls international wildlife trade. The African species are considered to be vulnerable to extinction. As populations of Asian pangolins have plummeted traders have started looking to Africa to meet demand.

Source: The Times