They Coughed, Wheezed and Sniveled One After Another, She Spent 70 Days and Nights in the Cage with Five Pangolins
2020/2/10 18:05:00 本站

In the early morning of February 7th, at the critical stage of national epidemic prevention, South China Agricultural University released the latest research results of the joint research of the researchers and two other scientific research institutions, claiming that pangolin is the potential intermediate host of the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP).


Pangolin is not new to Chinese people, especially to China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF). Since 2015, CBCGDF’s Pangolin Working Group has been running for the conservation of pangolin: fighting against the illegal trade of pangolin, investigating the underground black market, participating in the protection and confiscation of living pangolin, and trying to release pangolin in the wild……Just half a year ago, from April to July 2019, “Pangolin Girl”, the head of CBCGDF’s Pangolin Working Group, spent 70 days and nights in a cage with the pangolins for emergency rescue of five living pangolins.


Different from the current situation: in the day of rescuing pangolins, pangolins who escaped from the hands of poachers have symptoms such as cough, asthma, runny nose, and stuffy nose. The “Pangolin Girl” who stay with them day and night have observed and recorded these conditions for the first time. “Pangolin girl” has not been infected with any virus except for red rash caused by insect bites.


To Save Five Surviving Pangolins, She Decided to Stay with Them


At the end of March 2019, the Anti-Smuggling Bureau of General Administration of Customs deployed in a unified way, and the Anti-Smuggling Bureau of Guangdong Branch directly conducted a special action named “Guardian 2019” to combat the smuggling of endangered species. As before, customs officers seized a large number of wildlife products, including ivory, rhinoceros horn and tiger teeth. Among them, the fate of 103 rescued living pangolins is worrying.


According to customs practice in Combating Smuggling, the confiscated live pangolins will be sent to wildlife rescue centers in Guangdong and Guangxi respectively. Among them, 21 living pangolins and 5 dead pangolins were transferred to Guangdong Provincial Wildlife Rescue Center. Since pangolin has a special diet, timidity and long-term living in caves, the artificial conservation of pangolin has always been a world problem. By the end of April, 21 living pangolins sent to Guangdong had also died. By April 17th, only five pangolins were in danger.


On April 17th, “Pangolin Girl” flew to Guangzhou for the second time after being strongly supported by the State Forestry and Grass Administration and Guangdong Provincial Forestry Bureau and having negotiated and applied many times. This time, in order to avoid the tragedy that all 34 living pangolins died in the rescue in the wildlife rescue center under Guangxi Forestry Bureau in 2017, “Pangolin Girl” decided not to leave, and she was left to rescue and accompany the five last surviving pangolins.


For the first time, she recorded the Symptoms of the Pangolin, Such as Runny Nose and Asthma


CBCGDF’s Pangolin Working Group cherished the five surviving pangolins and named them “Always Sleep”, “No Move”, “Snore”, “Little Kid” and “Last Night”. Every pangolin is a treasure with an independent “scale” frame. Among them, “No Move” is the youngest according to its shape and behavior, while “Last Night” is the most active one, “Snore” is the weakest looking one.


After taking over the five living pangolins, the pressure of CBCGDF’s Pangolin Working Group is not easy. At the same time, they need to be monitored for almost 24 hours, anti-inflammatory treatment, as well as anatomy and pathological analysis of the dead body; and at the same time, they need to find food for the five living pangolins. In terms of feeding habits, pangolin feeds on termites and its food source is narrow. They used to eat termites with long tongues in the wild. However, once they were in the human world, where would they find so many termites?


In a hurry, “Pangolin Girl” had to turn to society for help. Later, Guangdong Provincial Institute of Biological Resources Application urgently produced a batch of special formula food to feed pangolins; the volunteers from Guangzhou Conghua braved the heavy rain and entered the mountains to find termites for pangolins; a kind person from Yunnan Pu’er also even sent termite nest…


During the Labor Day holiday, it rained heavily in Guangzhou for several days, and the temperature of pangolin’s cage house became low. Perhaps because of the cold temperature, “Pangolin Girl” observed that the remaining three pangolins had runny nose, stuffy nose and asthma. She tried to raise the temperature of the pangolin cage to about 24 degrees. According to experts, these cold symptoms of pangolin have been recorded for the first time.


Two more times, through video surveillance, she found the youngest pangolin “No Move” hiding in the cage, motionless, stretched out into a long piece. “Pangolin Girl” was frightened at that time, thinking that something happened. Usually, pangolin sleeps with its tail curled up, this stretched posture has not been seen before. Every time, she rushes to the pangolin until she confirms that “No Move” is all right, and just being naughty, and she's relieved.


All-day long, she was in the Same Room with the Pangolins, Her Body and Volunteers’ were Suddenly Itching.


By the middle of May, Guangzhou had entered early summer, and the temperature was rising rapidly. “Pangolin Girl”, who has been accompanying pangolin all day, suddenly finds that her body is extremely itchy, and there are red spots on her arms and legs……


During the day, she entered the cage to measure the temperature and humidity, change the water, add food, clean the water basin and food basin for pangolin, test the body, and find delicious food for them. At night, she needed to observe their behavior and judge their health in real-time. These are the works that “Pangolin Girl” do every day during her stay.


During this almost 24-hour care period, she doesn’t know when or what insect bit her skin. However, she is still accompanying herself, insisting on observation and recording, and timely pulling ticks for “No Move”, dropping eyedrops for “Always Sleep” infected with eye diseases, and treating tail suppuration……“At that time, the protective equipment was masks, gloves, and white coats.” “Pangolin Girl," said she stayed with pangolin for several months. Fortunately, except for insect bites, she did not have a cold or was infected with any virus.


Although CBCGDF’s Pangolin Working Group and “Pangolin Girl” tried their best to rescue them, by the end of May, among the five of the pangolins that were rescued in emergency, the weakest one “Snore” died first (April 19th), followed by “Little Kid”, a pregnant mother and parent also died in the rescue process on April 23rd. At the end of May, the last three pangolins were transferred to the pangolin rescue and rehabilitation center established by CBCGDF in Guangzhou for rehabilitation training.


In the outdoor pangolin rescue and rehabilitation center, “Pangolin Girl” continued to spend nearly two months with three other pangolins and achieved a series of observation research results, such as training them to adapt to the field environment, trying to eat local ants and so on, which accumulated a lot of experience for pangolin rescue in the future. Later, at the end of the “cage house” staying, “Pangolin Girl” said that she saw a pangolin with wet eyes, “it’s hard to say goodbye”, she felt very sad as well.

(Photo credit: CBCGDF)

Original Chinese article:

By / Xue Tongtong